Interfaith Power & Light Announces
First 20 Certified Cool Congregations
Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) and its 40 state affiliates encourage congregations of all faiths to save energy, go green, and respond to climate change. IPL is excited to announce its first 20 Certified Cool Congregations. These exemplary houses of worship have proven that they are reaching significant carbon pollution reductions in response to global warming that often surpass the U.S. goal of 17% outlined by President Obama in his Climate Action Plan.
The 20 Certified Cool Congregations are averaging 42% carbon pollution reductions, proving that where there's a will, there's a way. Their stories are both practical and hopeful. IPL president, the Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham, says, "These congregations are leading the way. They are putting their faith into action and bringing moral responsibility to the forefront of the movement to protect the climate."
Jointly, the Certified Cool Congregations are preventing 2.2 million pounds (1,000 metric tons) of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere every year. This is the equivalent of not burning one million pounds of coal every year, or preserving 820 acres of mature forest every year, or planting 25,000 trees every year, or asking Americans to drive 2.3 million miles less every year. And that's just 20 congregations. The nation has 370,000 congregations.
The Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR estimates that if all of America's congregations cut energy use just 20% it would save nearly $630 million per year, and prevent more than 2.6 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions – the equivalent of eliminating emissions from 480,000 cars from the road.
IPL heartily congratulates and thanks the first 20 Certified Cool Congregations for their inspiring efforts. Read the Certified Cool Congregations stories and learn more about becoming one by visiting www.coolcongregations.org.
The First Twenty Certified Cool Congregations
40% and above CO2 Reduction – Gold Medallion
- St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Framingham, MA
- Crosslake Presbyterian, Crosslake, MN
- Temple Beth El, Stamford, CT
- Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Tucson, AZ
- Unitarian Universalist Church, Bloomington, IN
- St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church, Dover, MA
- Flagstaff Federated Community Church, Flagstaff, AZ
- Church of the Brethren, Modesto, CA
30% CO2 Reduction – Blue Medallion
- Westminster Presbyterian Church, Knoxville, TN
- Salvisa Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Salvisa, KY
- First Unitarian Church of Cleveland, Shaker Heights, OH
- Emmanuel United Methodist Church, Laurel, MD
- Central Union Church, Honolulu, HI
- St. Thomas, Bloomington, IN
20% CO2 Reduction – Red Medallion
- Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church, Louisville, KY
- First Universalist Church of Rockland, Rockland, ME
- Community Church of Durham, UCC, Durham, NH
- Brackett Memorial UMC, Peaks Island, ME
10% CO2 Reduction – Green Medallion
- Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Prairie Village, KS
- First Unitarian Church, Louisville, KY
Houses of worship leave a notable environmental imprint.
Per capita, per hour of use, they're often among the biggest wasters of energy, and the United States has more houses of worship than any other country!
Many congregations recognize the moral imperative for stewardship, but don't always stand on the moral "high ground" when it comes to actual energy usage. We need to become better stewards and, in the process, encourage and inspire our congregants to do better at home, school, and work.
Membership in MIP&L offers a concrete way to put faith into action. Together, we will work toward environmental justice and care of creation. We will be a powerful religious response to global warming and environmental degradation!
If we don't, who will?
All Steamed Up?
Boston Synagogue was all steamed up, not just about climate change but especially about its cost (in $s and environmental impact) for using steam to heat its building. Boston Synagogue (also known as Charles River Park Synagogue) is a small, lay-led synagogue located in the heart of the Old West End near Massachusetts General Hospital. The building was constructed in 1971. It is a single-story structure, with a dramatic pitched "skylight" roof over the Sanctuary.
The result? During 2009 Boston Synagogue reduced their carbon dioxide emissions by 70%, from over 200,000 lbs to just over 80,000 lbs. Their annual energy costs decreased by 57% during this period, to about $6,800 as compared to about $15,750. Also, their annual repair and maintenance bills dropped significantly. As a result,the estimated payback time on their capital investment is approximately 5 years.
Read the full and very detailed case study by clicking here (PDF).
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