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April 2015

Dear MIP&L members and friends,

Five Massachusetts Congregations Recognized
in National Competition

solar panels on roof

In celebration of Earth Day, five Massachusetts congregations were among those recognized by Interfaith Power and Light's 2014 Cool Congregation's Challenge. Temple Beth Elohim tied for runner up in the Energy Efficiency category. Central Congregational Church of Newburyport, Church of the Covenant, Boston, First Congregational, UCC of Melrose and St. Matthew's United Methodist of Acton all received Honorable Mention in the Energy Saver category.

Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley is saving $26,000 a year in energy costs and has reduced their carbon footprint by 25% or 100 tons per year. That's the equivalent of taking 20 average cars off the road or eliminating the energy consumption of 5 houses. How did they do it? All with improvements to their heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

Although they had moved into a new building designed to be green from top to bottom they noticed that their energy efficiency hadn't improved. With the help of an energy efficiency consultant they changed the internal settings in their state of the art computer based building control system so that the right temperature and volume of air is delivered more efficiently to all occupied spaces of the building.

Beth Elohim isn't stopping there though! They're now installing variable frequency drives that will be controlled by outdoor temperature sensors. Upgrading the efficiency of lighting and appliances is planned for the future.

First Congregational Church in Melrose is heated by electricity and electric bills were high. First they weatherized their building. They replaced their roof, added insulation, and air-sealed all openings between heated spaces and unheated spaces. They also upgraded to high efficiency lighting.

Then they installed a 101 watt solar PV system on their flat roof, the largest non-municipal system in Melrose. They financed it with a no-money down PPA (power purchase agreement) which made it cash- flow-positive on day one. The result? Estimated savings during the first year will be $9,459 and carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 179,528 lbs., the equivalent of 9,129 gallons of gasoline not burned. Net savings over 20 years are estimated at $295,480, assuming a 3.5% annual increase in utility prices.

They selected their solar installer by using EnergySage's instant estimator tool. Click here to check it out. According to Lori Timmerman"EnergySage delivered multiple attractive quotes online and helped us to find the best deal with an amazing solar installer. They made it easy to go solar. We couldn't't have done it without EnergySage!" As an added bonus, for each installer selected through EnergySage they donate 20% of their fees to MIP&L.

St. Matthew's Methodist Church saved $1,960 on utility bills and lowered carbon dioxide emissions by 9.1 metric tons over just a 6 month period! These impressive results were achieved by insulating their attic and their boiler distribution pipes, keeping doors closed between occupied and unoccupied spaces, and turning off lights and appliances when not in use. Susan Evans, a St. Matthew's member and MIP&L volunteer certified energy manager in training, was able to obtain a $1,000 rebate by carefully preparing and submitting a Custom Retrofit Application to MassSave's Direct Install program.

Central Congregational Newburyport and Church of the Covenant, Boston will be profiled in a future newsletter.


Take the Paris Pledge

Paris COP21

Thirty-six congregations including the First Religious Society in Carlisle and the First Unitarian Society in Newton MA, together with five hundred individuals have already taken the Paris Pledge. Will you join them?

When they meet in Paris in 2015 for COP 21, Interfaith Power & Light would like to see global nations commit to 50% reductions in global warming pollution by 2030, towards a goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on government and civil society leaders to bring bold initiatives and proposals to drastically lower climate emissions, saying, "I challenge you to bring to the Summit bold pledges. Innovate, scale up, cooperate, and deliver concrete action that will close the emissions gap and put us on track for an ambitious legal agreement." The Paris Pledge was announced by IPL's Rev. Sally Bingham in response to this challenge. Click here if your congregation wants to take the parish pledge. Individuals wanting to take the pledge click here.


Sen. Barrett Draws on Canadian Experience to Promote Carbon Fees

Mike BarrettSen. Michael Barrett, (D-Lexington) was joined by Mike Bernier, British Columbia's Parliamentary Secretary for Energy and the Environment, and other government, business and non-profit leaders from British Columbia at an MIT forum on the importance of a carbon fee and rebate law in Massachusetts.

The panelists emphasized that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that affects everyone's health. A bill filed by Sen. Barrett, (S. 1747) seeks to capture the harmful consequences of carbon pollution, by putting a fee on fossil fuels imported into Massachusetts, and then rebating all revenues to individuals and businesses. Rebates to lower income individuals would allow them to come out ahead, while higher income taxpayers would incur a net loss. Businesses would receive rebates in proportion to the number of their employees. Rebates may be increased by 30 percent for those who drive 30% more than the state average.

Forty-one members of the legislature, roughly 20 percent of the total membership have co-sponsored the bill. Sen Barrett later said, "I think a carbon fee is tailor-made for finding consensus. We can let Charlie Baker follow through on his no-new-taxes pledge and still fight climate change. You can't beat that,"

According to Secretary Bernier, "This is a non-partisan issue. It is a global issue". The revenue neutral carbon fee established in British Columbia in 2008 allowed it to achieve its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 6% at the same time that its GDP increased by 9%. A year after its passage, 52% of the population supported it and three years later 65% approved.

The panelists emphasized that this is a moderate and not a liberal proposal. Some form of carbon pricing exists in the world's economies that represent 42% of global domestic product and that amount will increase to more than 50% when additional laws take effect in 2016. To read more about carbon fee and rebate click here.


From Uncertainty to Action: What You Can Do About Climate Change


Sunday, May 17, 3-7 PM
Hebrew College, Herrick Road, Newton

$18 donation (optional); students are free.

Click here to register!

Sponsored by the Jewish Climate Action Network and Hebrew College

For more information contact David Schreiber, or 781-239-1187


interfaith retreat

An Afternoon Retreat Led by Rabbi Katy Allen and the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas

Sunday, June 7, 2015 from 2:00-5:30 pm
Church of the Holy Spirit,
169 Rice Road, Wayland, MA 01778

Donation of $10 to $30. More if you can less if you can't.

In the face of ecological crisis, how do we maintain faith and hope? What spiritual practices and perspectives sustain us as we struggle to protect the web of life?

We will explore a framework and some tools to help us maintain ourselves as healers filled with compassion, energy, and hope. The retreat will include presentations, guided meditation, group sharing, a little singing, and space for solitary reflection and prayer.

Sponsored by Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light.
For more information contact Vince Maraventano at or 617.244.0755


The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy

Talk by renowned environmentalist Lester Brown

Lester Brown's book

Thursday May 7, 2015 at 7:30 PM
Clarke Middle School Auditorium
17 Stedman Rd.
Lexington MA

Sponsored by Lexington Global Warming Action Committee


Mother's Day Story and Prayer Vigil for Mother Earth

mother earth
Image by an anonymous artist

Celebrate Mother's Day this year at a Mother's Day Story and Prayer Vigil for Mother Earth.
Sunday, May 10 from 1:00-4:00 PM.

The event will include a walk along the Carol Getchell Nature Trail and a vigil for the Earth on the footbridge over the Sudbury River. Meet at Open Spirit, 39 Edwards Street in Framingham, at 1 PM or 2 PM, or park on Hillside Avenue and join us on the bridge at any time. All ages are welcome.

For more information, contact or 508-877-8162.

Sponsored by One Earth Collaborative, a program of Open Spirit, and Common Street Spiritual Center.


Wrentham Wind & Solar Tour and Candy Tasting

Wrentham wind turbines

Mt. Saint Mary's Abbey, Wrentham MA
Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 11am

The sisters of Mount St. Mary's Abbey are dedicated to renewable energy and host wind, geothermal and solar on their property. Their 100kW wind turbine supplies Mass Energy members with green electricity. Mass Energy invites you to join them to see one of the Abbey's two solar fields and the wind turbine

To register click here.



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Mass. Interfaith Power & Light works in collaboration with 40 other state affiliates across the country to provide technical expertise on energy efficiency and renewable energy, information on effective public policy solutions, and a connection to the teachings of our faiths that call us to care for creation.

Please help us carry out this critical mission by logging on to, clicking on the DONATE button and making a secure, fully tax deductible donation.

If not us who? If not now, when?

Peace and blessings,

Your friends at MIP&L


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