White House Energy Stewardship and Faith Community Conference

The President’s Climate Action Plan calls for all commercial buildings, including worship facilities, to reduce energy costs and related greenhouse gas emission by 20 percent by 2020. ENERGY STAR® certified buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy and are responsible for 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than average buildings. ENERGY STAR is helping congregations use low-cost, even no-cost actions, the time and talent of their members, and strategic investment to save money and prevent pollution.

While there is much to be done in addressing climate change and its impacts, the most immediate and measureable action a congregation can take is to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions is simply saving energy. The following steps are a summary of the more detailed information and resources to be found in the ENERGY STAR Action Workbook for Congregations and the ENERGY STAR Action Workbook for Congregations Appendices.

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ENERGY STAR® Action Workbook for Congregations

Step 1: Make a Commitment to Saving Energy

Become an ENERGY STAR partner and make a commitment to better stewardship.

Gain the support of your clergy, staff, and governing board. They are critical to successful efficiency projects.

Motivate your congregation. Your congregation members are the primary source of finance, as well labor for many energy efficiency projects.  Help your members understand the projects.

Create a stewardship team. This “green team” can be large or small—or even a committed individual. Invite youth to contribute.

Step 2: Assess Performance

Benchmark your building’s energy performance using EPA’s free, online Portfolio Manager® tool.  Portfolio Manager will also help you set energy efficiency goals, and document achievements.

Step 3: Set Goals

Evaluate priorities and set goals.  Work with key decision makers and evaluate how well the project aligns with your congregational priorities.

Prioritize your goals. Evaluate potential costs and benefits for action.

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Step 4: Create an Action Plan

Use the Portfolio Manager tool in coordination with the ENERGY STAR Action Workbook for Congregations and additional Congregations resources, to do the following:

  • Walk through your building. Identify which low-cost, no-cost ENERGY STAR Sure Energy Savers can be quickly implemented in your building. 
  • Find ENERGY STAR training and informational webinars.
  • Find ENERGY STAR qualified products, purchasing specifications, and calculators.
  • Determine technical issues, solutions, steps, and targets and take stock of your available resources. 
  • Determine if projects require funding and how best to secure it. Worthwhile projects may or may not require funding. Some projects may be attractive to targeted donations. Savings from low- or no-cost actions may fund some projects, while others may require capital investment for larger savings.

Step 5: Implement the Action Plan

This is the time to hire a contractor if necessary; to negotiate based on competing bids, and name a congregation member or team to manage the projects.  Portfolio Manager’s powerful features can help you monitor progress.

Create a communication plan to build awareness, educate and motivate your members.

Step 6: Evaluate Progress

Measure and verify your savings. Portfolio Manager will calculate the effect of your projects on your energy consumption, “normalizing” your savings for weather variations, and help you plan continuing improvement.

Report progress to your congregation.  Generate a Portfolio Manager “statement of energy performance,” employing easy-to-use report templates, or create the custom reports you want. Easily share data.

Step 7: Recognize Achievements

Provide recognition at regular intervals for everyone who helped the project succeed.

Tell your story. Share your success with other congregations and in your community through traditional and social media. Get your youth groups “tweeting” to recognize your accomplishments and inspire others.

People enjoy friendly competition that supports a good cause and inspires excellence. Download the ENERGY STAR Guide to Energy Efficiency Competitions for ideas on how to motivate change.

Not certified yet? Your success story may be unique, educational, inspiring, and worthy of publication. Learn more by contacting the ENERGY STAR congregation’s team at energystarcongregations@energyandsecurity.com.

Apply for the ENERGY STAR - recognized by more than 85% of Americans as the mark of excellence in energy efficiency, environmental, and financial stewardship. Visit our certification page to learn about eligibility.

Save and print the ENERGY STAR Congregations Action Workbook Summary.

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