EPA is scheduled to launch a new ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager rating capability for worship facilities on August 31. There are an estimated 310,000 houses of worship in the U.S. with aggregate annual energy costs of $2 billion. Worship facilities comprise about 5% of U.S. commercial square footage but have more buildings than public facilities, food sales, lodging, malls or health care. More importantly, religious worship facilities house America’s faith community with an influence over the daily lives of millions of Americans, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Interest is growing in confronting global warming and virtually all faith traditions teach stewardship of natural resources as a basic tenet. This makes ENERGY STAR an attractive new resource for faith communities seeking to reduce costs while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The houses of worship rating will express energy performance on a scale of 1-to-100, with ratings of 75 or higher eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR designation. A schedule of monthly Webinars on how religious worship facilities can measure and track energy use using EPA’s online tool, Portfolio Manager, will be announced in August. In addition, ENERGY STAR provides specialized information, Webinars and guidance for congregations, including the Putting Energy into Stewardship guide at www.energystar.gov/congregations and sponsors annual awards.