Dear MIP&L members and friends,
Would your congregation like to lower its utility bills? Decrease its use of fossil fuels, and the contribution they make to global warming? Are you interested in learning more about solar energy? MIP&L's Sustainable House of Worship (SHOW) workshop covers all this and more.
In this half-day session conducted by Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light you will learn:
To register for the March 1 workshop at Trinity Church, 124 River Rd, Topsfield, click here or register at the door.
The fee to attend is only $10 per person, payable during online registration through PayPal or in-person by check. Light refreshments are included. Doors open at 8:30am. The program starts at 9am and ends at 1pm.
Increased Efficiency and Education at St. Brigid's Yield Dramatic Savings
In 2011, MIP&L conducted an Environmental Stewardship Assessment (ESA) of St. Brigid's Church and Parish Center in Lexington. The parish staff and volunteers collected historical energy usage data in advance of a site visit. Staff obtained cost estimates, and developed plans to implement the most cost effective opportunities.
They converted expensive and aging oil-fueled heating systems to efficient, gas-powered systems; installed energy-efficient lighting; and insulated the church roof with icynene spray foam insulation, the current state of the art material used in new commercial and some residential construction. St. Brigid's lowered its annual heating costs by $37,600, a 56% reduction from 2011 amounts.
Carbon dioxide emissions from the church and parish center combined were lowered by 33% for a total of 64.1 metric tons in a single year. That's the equivalent of taking 12.6 cars off the road for a year.
Their active and diverse adult education programming shared with their sister parish Sacred Heart, includes activities planned by the Faith and Environment Group, such as prayer services, films, speakers, and bulletin articles on caring for creation. In addition, it works with the staff and parishioners to reduce energy use in the parishes and at home. St. Brigid's and Sacred Heart are making a difference by leading by example. To learn more click here.
Power from Above at South Church, Andover & 9 other Houses of Worship
For many years, South Church has had an active Green Team which promotes creation care. From bringing renowned author and environmental activist Bill McKibben to speak, to working with environmental interns from Andover High School, the Green Team is invested in building working relationships with the broader community. In this vein, members of South Church were instrumental in guiding the town to install a solar panel on the roof of Doherty Middle School several years ago, made possible with funds provided by the former Mass. Technology Collaborative.
In October 2011, South Church began to look closely at installing solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on their roof to generate electricity. They contacted Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light (MIP&L) who recommended several contractors. South Church then requested proposals from three contractors, and evaluated them for cost savings, the experience and reputation of the designer/installer, the quality of the equipment, and the warranties. They selected SunBug Solar, and have been completely satisfied with their service. In April 2012, a proposal was selected. South Church obtained approval from the Historic Commission to move forward, and the system was then installed.
South Church estimates that its system avoids emissions of 55 tons of carbon dioxide per year and saves them $3,000 per year. The system produces about 92% of South Church's electricity needs. When it produces more than they need the utility gives them a credit on their bill. To learn more about South Church click here.
With the help of MIP&L at least 9 other houses of worship have installed solar PV systems by SunBug, using Power Purchase Agreements (PPA's) a type of long term lease. They are: Christ Church, Needham; Edwards Church, Framingham; First Parish, Framingham; Immanuel Lutheran, Amherst; St. Barnabas, Memorial; St. Dunstan's; St. Andrew's, Framingham; First Baptist, Beverly and Temple Isaiah, Lexington. Taken together these ten houses of worship have avoided about 242 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Over the 30-year expected useful lives of these systems that amounts to 7,251 metric tons of carbon dioxide avoided.
A carbon tax is a way to reduce harmful emissions of carbon dioxide by putting a price on emissions from fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. A revenue neutral carbon tax is one in which all revenues are returned to taxpayers in the form of reduced sales, income and corporate taxes. A carbon tax is needed in Massachusetts to ease the harmful health effects of burning fossil fuels which contribute to giving Massachusetts the 4th highest rate of adult asthma in the country and to ease the damage to land and property caused by coastal erosion and hurricanes of increasing frequency and intensity.
The Conroy-Barrett bill, (H.2532) sponsored by State Representative Thomas Conroy (D-Wayland) and State Senator Michael Barrett (D-Lexington), has 11 co-sponsors and seeks to place a first-in-the-nation tax on carbon in Massachusetts. To see the text of the bill click here.
A study commissioned by the Committee for a Green Economy (CGE) and prepared by Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) concludes that a similar carbon tax achieves its goals of reducing GHG emissions while contributing to the state's economic growth. The REMI study finds that a carbon tax of $45 per metric ton would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide in Massachusetts from the current 64 million metric tons annually to about 56 million in 20 years. By lowering corporate and personal taxes they project that the state's gross domestic product would increase by $8 billion from 2013 to 2035 and the number of jobs rise by about 10,000.
A revenue-neutral carbon tax enacted in British Columbia (BC) in 2008 has resulted in per capita fuel consumption declining there by nearly 19% more than in the rest of Canada and per capita emissions of GHG decreasing by 10%. The BC carbon tax returns all revenues in the form of reduced taxes. Residents of British Columbia pay the lowest taxes in Canada and the tax has broad bi-partisan support and a 64% public approval rating. For a detailed discussion of revenue-neutral carbon taxes click on our public policy brief here.
We are trustees of the earth and fellow creatures with its inhabitants.
Spirit calls us to ecological consciousness;
We are dependent on nature and belong to the natural order.
It is not simply an object for domination and exploitation,
but the Spirit's project, to be redeemed along with us.
Nature is our home, blessed by God ...
and it is destined for renewal.
To make a secure on-line donation go to www.MIPandL.org and click on the Donate button on the upper right corner.
Peace and blessings,
Your friends at MIP&L