he ENERGY STAR label stands for energy efficiency, which can support a congregation’s concern for financial and environmental conservation. The EPA can assist a congregation in making decisions on their facilities and equipment that save money and prevent pollution.
Congregations that commit to substantial energy savings can cut utility costs 25-30%, and make significant contributions to a cleaner environment. If each of the nation’s approximately 307,000 religious worship buildings cut its energy use and costs 25%:
- Congregations would save nearly $500,000,000 to spend on their other priorities.
- More than 13,500,000,000 kWh of electricity would be available with no new power plants.
- More than 5 million tons of CO2 emissions would be prevented.
By saving money with energy efficiency, congregations could achieve the equivalent of removing about one million cars and their pollution from the road, or planting nearly 1.4 million acres of trees.
The hunt is now on for congregations ready to serve as examples and receive recognition for their energy cost-cutting efforts.
An award application is available on-line at the link below, under the National Awards Program. The application can be downloaded and submitted via mail or fax. Applications will be accepted until April 1.
The awards program is open to any congregation that has effectively reduced energy costs by upgrading facilities or implementing ENERGY STAR recommendations. Efforts can include new construction, remodels or retrofits, or smaller undertakings such as a change in lighting or insulation.
“Many people have heard about ENERGY STAR energy saving recommendations or the advantage of ENERGY STAR labeled equipment,” Jerry Lawson, National Manager of Energy Star for Small Business and Congregations said. “They don’t realize the significant impact even a relatively small change can make. That’s why we like to highlight small projects along with some of the larger efforts.”
In 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced ENERGY STAR as a voluntary program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. ENERGY STAR Congregations Network includes more than 9,000 private and public sector organizations. Participants receive technical information and tools they need to choose energy-efficient solutions and best management practices.
Over the past decade, ENERGY STAR has been a driving force behind the more widespread use of such technological innovations as LED traffic lights, efficient fluorescent lighting, power management systems for office equipment, and low standby energy use.
Winners receive a special plaque made of recycled materials, their case history placed on the ENERGY STAR Congregations Web site, and national and local media outreach including contact to area newspapers and appropriate magazines or journals.
Applicants are asked to estimate their energy and cost savings, while providing details of their energy-efficient upgrades. Applicants accepted as finalists will be assisted by the ENERGY STAR Congregations Network to verify their energy use data from their utility company. Award applications will be judged on comprehensiveness of upgrades, energy savings, creativity, and innovation.