In fall of 2010, faith communities came together to take part in Interfaith Power & Light’s historic 10% Challenge, a united effort of thousands all over the country to fight global warming by reducing their carbon emission at least 10%. They upgraded the lighting in their facilities, examined their heating and cooling systems, planted native trees and landscaping, inspired members to go green, and joined work parties on 10/10/10. These activities are sending a message to the world that people from all faith traditions are united in protecting the climate. And for many congregations who have pledged to continue to work towards the goal of carbon reductions – this is just the beginning. Many of the congregations had already worked hard at greening their buildings and individual practices, and decided that they could go a little farther for this challenge.
This is only the beginning. In order to help you in your ongoing efforts to save energy and make your house of worship a model of stewardship, we have a new and improved resource that we are pleased to announce today: our upgraded congregational carbon footprint calculator atÂ CoolCongregations.com. It has the same great features to help you measure your congregation’s carbon footprint, onlyÂ now it has customized tips based on your results, and you can create an account to store your results and measure your progress over time.
Below, you’ll see photos of projects as they come in, and links to read about the challenges congregations took, and are continuing to take, as we receive their inspiring reports. You can email your photos to [email protected]terfaithpowerandlight.org, and submit stories about how your congregation participated to be highlighted on this page.
Listen to a sermon by IPL President, the Rev. Canon Sally Bingham. (mp3)
This sermon was given at Holy Trinity Menlo Park’s 10-10-10 event
Congratulations to the following five congregations, each winning a $1,000 prize. They were drawn randomly from a pool of qualifying 10% Challenge participants.
Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Atlanta, Georgia, submitted a comprehensive Action Plan for fall 2010 – spring 2011 that includes green services, the planting of threatened Eastern Hemlock saplings on its wooded campus, a rainwater capture project to sustainably water the Hemlocks and other landscaping, lighting improvements, and insulation. The congregation has also succeeded in raising funds for the purchase and installation of 20 solar panels of the 108 needed to become 100% energy self-sufficient.
Trinity Church in Menlo Park, California, an Episcopal Community, hosted a “10/10/10 Energy Party,” with 10% Challenge t-shirts, which focused primarily on educating members and inspiring them to go green at home. In addition, Trinity is under way with upgrades for improved efficiency on its two-acre campus this year. They installed new appliances, and contracted for a three-building lighting retrofit and heating/cooling and structural upgrades.
Congregation Brith Shalom of Bellaire, Texas, drafted a Green Action Plan, which implements major efforts that are dramatically reducing its energy use and carbon footprint. They’ve already replaced nearly all incandescent lightbulbs with climate-friendly CFL and LED lighting, as well as other appliance upgrades.
First Parish Church, Brunswick, Maine, just replaced a very large oil-burning furnace with two small natural gas furnaces. They expect energy savings of 30 – 40% in the educational building of the church. They also anticipate replacing light bulbs in their sanctuary with dimmable CFLs within the next few months.
Winston-Salem Friends Meeting, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is implementing widespread changes in the use of their facilities and supplies, as well as upgrades in appliances and central air. The pastor also delivered a sermon on climate change and distributed Climate Convert pins to encourage the congregation to go green.
More great stories:
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