These days, we are seeing much more "environmentally friendly" options. We see solar panels on the roofs of more houses, we see more hybrid cars and now we are beginning to see more environmentally friendly worship facilities.
There are simple steps you can take in order to conserve energy and some are probably simpler than you think.
How to improve your energy efficiency
By adjusting your thermostats to just one degree cooler than you normally have it set at, you can reduce heating costs up to five percent during the seasons you heat your facility. You can also do this by setting your air conditioners to just a few degrees higher than usual and it will be have the same affect.
For lighting, use compact fluorescent bulbs in fixtures that you use frequently to help cut the cost of your electric bill.
Form a care group
Get the members of your parish together that includes the clergy, staff, parishioners, volunteers and anyone else and monitor the environmental, human health and related issues that are affected by your worship space.
Don't forget about the inside
Acoustical performances, ventilation and comfort are factors you can't forget about. You will need to clean and maintain the inside as well, so consider green cleaning products that don't have as many of the harsh and harmful chemicals.
The three R's reduce, reuse and recycle
This one is pretty simple. Recycle anything that can be recycled that includes electronics. Place recycling bins around your sanctuary so congregants can put their bottles and cans in there instead of just throwing them away.
Worship facilities are known to use a lot of paper. If you need to print something, use both sides of the paper.
When you need to choose new equipment or products for your services, consider ones that have a long life span and require very little maintenance, saving you money, time and a headache.
Improve your water-use efficiency
If you want to plant flowers, consider ones that don't need a lot of water. If you already have flowers that need more attention, consider getting rain barrels that way you are able to use the rainwater to irrigate the parish grounds.
You can also keep an eye out anything that leaks and installing high-efficiency, low-flush toilets. Say you have a leak. For every day you don't notice or fix it, you can lose as much as 500 gallons of water a day.
Educate, educate, educate
Help your congregants understand how important environmental protection is by doing something as simple as planting an organic garden on your grounds. Have your congregants help take care of it and use the food you grow for a local food pantry or a dinner.
When you buy locally grown food, you reduce the carbon footprint if you serve these at church hosted dinners.
Reduce transportation emissions
Urge your congregants to carpool if they can, or if you offer a shuttle service for members without vehicles or can no longer drive, consider a hybrid or electric car. Also consider public transportation if you can.