Faith Communities Lead the Way on Energy Efficiency
Interfaith Power & Light is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s 10% Challenge, which is a united effort by diverse religious communities to address global warming by reducing their carbon footprint at least ten percent.
Approximately 250 congregations from thirty-eight states entered the 10% Challenge. Participants upgraded lighting along with heating and cooling systems; planted native trees and landscaping; and, inspired members to go green at home. “The Interfaith Power & Light energy audit really raised our awareness of HVAC and lighting issues and our overall carbon footprint,” remarked Sara Nutter of Winston-Salem Friends Meeting in North Carolina, one of the winners.
“These congregational activities demonstrate that people of faith are united by concern about climate change. They are also providing the antidote to the gridlock in the U.S. Senate, where a climate bill is languishing,” said Susan Stephenson, executive director of Interfaith Power & Light. Congregations usually start small and work their way up to greater and greater levels of energy efficiency and savings. Some even graduate to going completely carbon-free by installing solar panels or other renewable energy systems. “These congregations are strong moral examples for their communities. Their activities are having a ripple effect that might even reach policymakers in Washington, D.C. by showing that saving energy and using renewable energy is the right thing to do,” she continued.
Listed below are the five $1,000 prize winners chosen at random from the pool of congregations that successfully completed the 10% Challenge. Also listed, are the congregations that will receive a certificate from Interfaith Power & Light recognizing their achievement in completing the 10% Challenge. The activities associated with this year’s prize winners are representative of the dozens of great carbon saving projects that took place across the nation.
10% Challenge Prize Winners
Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation Earth Ministry
Contact Dr. Sandra Adams, 770-919-2923
Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation Earth Ministry submitted a comprehensive Action Plan for fall 2010-spring 2011 that includes: environmental Sunday services; a stewardship project involving the planting of 10 threatened Eastern Hemlock saplings on its wooded campus; a rainwater capture project; installation of motion sensors on the lights; and solar panel array expansion. NWUUC has succeeded in raising funds for the purchase and installation of 20 panels of the 108 needed to become 100% energy self-sufficient.
Trinity Church Menlo Park
Menlo Park, CA
Contact: Ms. Lynn Pieron, 650-326-2083
Trinity hosted a “10/10/10 Energy Party” focused primarily on educating members and inspiring them to reduce their carbon footprint at home by ten percent. 10% Challenge t-shirts were worn, and a team helped homeowners think about their carbon footprint. In addition, Trinity is improving the efficiency of its two-acre campus this year. They installed a front-loading washer (CEE Tier 3); they have contracted for a three-building lighting retrofit; they are planning for proposed heating/cooling/structural upgrades; and they’ve added drought-tolerant landscaping.
Congregation Brith Shalom
Contact: Daniel Cohan, 832-858-1390
Congregation Brith Shalom of Bellaire, Texas, has charted an ambitious course in fulfilling its 10% Challenge commitment. The synagogue created a Green Task Force aimed at greening its building and operations while engaging congregants in environmentally meaningful spiritual and educational programming. The resulting Green Action Plan developed by the Task Force and endorsed unanimously by the synagogue Board, elucidated a comprehensive vision for achieving those aims. The synagogue implemented major efforts that are dramatically reducing its energy use and carbon footprint. A building-wide lighting change-out replaced nearly all incandescent bulbs with LEDs, and T12, with T8 fluorescents. An inefficient commercial refrigerator was replaced with an EnergyStar 2.0 model. Further energy and carbon savings will likely be achieved by the more advanced controls installed to improve HVAC system performance.
First Parish Church, United Church of Christ
Contact: Mary Lee Ward, 207-725-7352
At First Parish Church in Brunswick, Maine, they have just completed replacing a very large oil-burning furnace with two small natural gas furnaces. They expect energy savings of 30 to 40% in the educational building of the church, resulting in at least 10% energy savings overall. They also anticipate replacing light bulbs in their sanctuary with dimmable CFL’s within the next few months.
Winston-Salem Friends Meeting
Winston Salem, NC
Contact: Sara Nutter, 336-725-8801
Winston-Salem Friends Meeting has: installed programmable thermostats; raised air conditioning temperature settings and distributed paper fans; eliminated their automatic ice machine that was used only occasionally but ran continuously; reduced their weekly bulletin from a full-page to a half-page; posted their monthly newsletter on the website, eliminating most mailings; placed recycling containers for easy access; substituted coffee mugs for styrofoam cups; and their Pastor delivered a sermon with an environmental message. They have also evaluated and planned for changes in lighting, exit signs, and fluorescent tubes and are considering moving classrooms and meeting space to minimize energy use.
10% Challenge Certificate Recipients
Congregations that Successfully Completed the 10% Challenge
Scottsdale AZ The Catholic Community of the Blessed Sacrament
Half Moon Bay CA Holy Family Episcopal Church
Palo Alto CA St. Thomas Aquinas
San Jose CA Willow Glen United Methodist Church
Oakland CA St. John’s Episcopal Church
Portola Valley CA Christ Church Episcopal
Menlo Park CA Trinity Church Menlo Park
San Diego CA First Lutheran Church
Palo Alto CA First Congregational Church
Lakewood CO St Paul’s Episcopal Church
Boulder CO St. Ambrose Episcopal Church
Manchester CT Unitarian Universalist Society: East
Pinellas Park FL Good Samaritan Church
Atlanta GA Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Atlanta GA Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church
Monroe GA Saint Alban’s Episcopal Church
Berea KY The Church of Christ, Union
Benton ME Waterville Unitarian Universalist
Portland ME Congregational Church in Cumberland
Phippsburg ME Phippsburg Congregational Church
Steuben ME First Congregational Church of Cherryfield, UCC
Rockport ME First Universalist Church Rockland
Winthrop ME United Methodist Church of Winthrop
Bar Harbor ME Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth
Brunswick ME First Parish Church, UCC
Kirkwood MO Grace Episcopal Church
Winston Salem NC Winston-Salem Friends Meeting
Manchester NH Grace Episcopal Church
Morristown NJ Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
Albuquerque NM Partnership for Earth Spirituality
Albuquerque NM Congregation Albert
Plainview NY Good Shepherd Lutheran Church & School
Saugerties NY Atonement Lutheran Church
Wynantskill NY First Reformed Church of Wynantskill
Rocky River OH Rocky River United Methodist Church
Worthington OH Gethsemane Lutheran Church
Rumford RI Newman Congregational Church, UCC
Houston TX Congregation Brith Shalom
Graham TX Graham First United Methodist Church
S Burlington VT Ascension Lutheran Church
Seattle WA Bethany Presbyterian
Milwaukee WI All Peoples Gathering Lutheran Church