The Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Annual Energy Star Small Business and Congregations awards recognize congregations and small businesses that have demonstrated significant energy savings in their buildings during the previous year. The awards also recognize a number of product, service, and assistance providers who work closely with the two groups to help improve their energy efficiency.
Since its start in 1999, the annual energy efficiency awards for congregations and small businesses have been on a separate track from the Energy Star Partner of the Year awards. Recognizing that these organizations and their buildings are unique, and face different challenges from Energy Star’s larger partners, the separate awards program allows congregations and small businesses to compete within their individual sectors.
This year’s winning congregations are as follows:
· First Parish Needham, Needham, Mass., www.uuneedham.org
· Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, Swarthmore, Pa., www.swarthmorepres.org
· First Baptist Church of Orlando, Orlando, Fla., www.firstorlando.com
· Saint Alban’s Episcopal Church, Monroe, Ga., www.saint-albans.org
· Lakewood Church, Houston, www.lakewood.cc
Award winners receive an Energy Star award to display at their facility; recognition on the Energy Star website; materials and training to help promote their award; and potential public recognition in local and national news media.
The open period for applications to be accepted is typically late January through early June, with an EPA press release announcing all winners issued in September. All applications are judged by Energy Star staff and management, and are evaluated based on the congregation’s Energy Star story and demonstrated annual savings.
To see the full success stories of the award winners and to apply for next year’s awards, see www.energystar.gov/congregations.