Reducing the tons of smog generated and the tremendous cost of heating and cooling Georgia’s 16,000 churches and places of worship

Have you ever thought about the tons of smog generated, or the tremendous cost of heating and cooling Georgia’s 16,000 churches and places of worship? Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (GIPL) has.

The dynamic Georgia nonprofit (pronounced Gipple) is passionate about helping congregations reduce energy bills, and redirect that money into positive energy of the righteous kind. Churches and synagogues are singing their praises. After all, every religion believes in being good stewards of creation. Using energy wisely is an important link in the chain when caring for the planet. By using less electricity, air pollution is reduced and that protects air quality, water quality and healthy habitats for wildlife as well as people.

Thanks to President Obama’s shared interest in clean energy, GIPL was awarded $400,000 in federal stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to educate religious leaders on rethinking how they use their buildings. Welcome to Power Wise.

According to GIPL’s executive director Alexis Chase, “We can now offer congregations a tangible tool, a ready-made road map for reducing their energy use.” Chase adds, “We hear stories of congregations unable to pay their bills and maintain core humanitarian programs already in place. Money spent on excessive energy bills is money that can’t be used to feed the hungry, house the homeless and advance their mission.”

The Power Wise team works directly with facility managers to establish an efficient energy plan customized for every space. Professional energy experts will monitor each building’s energy use for several years, make suggestions on how to lower energy costs, and provide funding to actually make the improvements on a case by case basis.

One common energy drain is heating and cooling large sanctuaries all week just to protect the pipe organ on Sunday. That’s a myth. Usually, all it takes is turning on the heat or air conditioning three to six hours before people arrive for services to return the pipes to their ideal temperature.

Demand for the Power Wise project is expected to be tremendous. Find out how your congregation can join the effort by signing up for a first review at gipl.org or call 404-588-9978.