Energy Star Action Workbook for Congregations

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Working with religious leaders and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Mitch Hescox and others worked on a study to find ways for congregations to become more renewable energy friendly. Their work resulted in a guide called “Energy Star Action Workbook for Congregations” which outlines effective and achievable actions faith communities can take to improve their energy efficiency and in this way save money which can be used to serve the church in other areas.

To be taken to where the free pdf of the workbook can be found, click here.

University of Dayton Divests from Fossil Fuels

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In June 2014, the University of Dayton became the first Catholic university in the United States to announce their divestment from coal and fossil fuels. Members of the university staff see this move as part of the university’s commitment to “being a responsible steward of the Earth’s natural resources.” This decision was commended by the president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. Their decision was one inspired by faith reflection as well as a commitment to financial stability for the university.

Beyond divesting from coal and fossil fuels, the university has taken further steps to move their campus toward efficiency and sustainability. A signatory of the of The American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACU PCC) and a member of other sustainability committees, the university now has two full time employees who work to improve campus sustainability and offers academic programs in these areas as well.

The University of Dayton is also home to the Hanley Sustainability Institute.

Click here to be linked to The University of Dayton’s site on their efficiency and sustainability initiatives. Click here to be directed to the Hanley Institute homepage.

CAFOD: Power to be Campaign

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The Power to be Campaign is a petition to the World Bank from the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development. They believe that every child has the power to achieve great things, but this can become difficult when one in six families still live without electricity. CAFOD is calling on the World Bank to ensure renewable energy access for the world’s poorest people. To read how you can help and how to sign the petition, click here.

ELCA Living Earth: The Ethics of Energy

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Living Earth is a resource from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The Ethics of Energy focuses on human’s failure to plan for future energy use.

“Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
Matthew 25:13

To read this entire document, click here.

Catholic Covenant Energies

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Catholic Covenant Energies is a new program meant to reduce energy use in Catholic owned buildings. There are three key components to the program: free and low-cost incentives, which works with local utility companies, retrofit program, which provides financing assistance, and a teachable moment, which highlights Catholic teaching on caring for creation. To read the entire document, click here.

Energy Optimism

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Energy Optimists is an article that refutes the doom and gloom point of view and focuses on a positive view when it comes to climate change.  It states that our climate moment is like that of Moses in his final words to the children of Israel: “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity … Choose life so that you and your descendants may live …” (Dt. 30:15, 19b). To read this article, click here.

Diocese of Southern Ohio goes Green

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By the end of May, The Diocese of Southern Ohio will have all of their buildings powered by 100% renewable energy. These buildings include Procter Center, Diocesan House, Gabriel’s Place, and the Latino Ministry Center in Forest Park. The diocese will be saving over $1,400 annually along with reducing their carbon footprint. To read more about the Diocese of Southern Ohio and their work, click here. To read about how to do something similar to this, click here.

Diocese of Southern Ohio Energy Plan

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The Diocese of Southern Ohio posted a plan to help congregations and households with their energy bill. It was titled, An Energy Plan: Taking Action Today Results in a Better Tomorrow, and gives tips and important questions to ask when discussing your electric and gas bill. It also provides instructions on how to develop an Energy Plan to ultimately save energy and money. To read more on this document, click here.

Bowling Green Church Installs Solar Panels

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Peace Lutheran Church in Bowling Green has installed solar panels on the south side of the building that are expected to save up to 25% of their utility bill. The solar panels are one of three projects that are a part of the churches mission of Creating Christ Connected Community. The other two projects include helping a Syrian Refugee family and building a new playground. To read more about their mission and current projects, click here.

Caring for Creation Using LED Lights

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Since the release of Laudato si’, many Catholic churches have made caring for creation a priority. About a year ago, the Catholic Diocese of Columbus started The Creation Care Team to help in their task of caring for creation. Their main role is to promote the church’s teachings on care for creation and in particular how it was articulated in Laudato si’. They assemble groups of people with specific initiatives who work on spreading awareness, educating, and developing practical ways for Catholics to live. While their work has impacts that spread far and wide, one distinct person who has made a difference is Bruce Boylan, the Director of Facilities for the Catholic Diocese of Columbus.

Around a year ago, Bruce and his team started looking for ways to help Catholic schools in the area reduce their energy costs. They came upon the idea of LED lights and obtained a few samples that were first tried in the cafeteria of St. Mary’s church. An example of the difference between a normal fluorescent bulb and an LED bulb can be seen below. They found that there was a significant improvement in lighting and cost, but the payback time took about nine months. The problem was in that nine months; if a parish or school did not have the money to invest right away, then nine months was too long to wait for saving money. Along with the payback time being delayed, the price of the LED bulbs were about sixteen dollars apiece and they were difficult to install. All these problems were holding them back, until they found a local realtor.

Late last year, they found a local realtor who was selling LED bulbs for six dollars apiece and they were much easier to install. With this new price, the payback time was reduced from nine months to only three and a half months. With this lower price and easier installation, these bulbs caused a 73% reduction in an energy bill for lights after just three and a half months. The math done to calculate these figures can be seen below. Now, the idea of LED lights became much more plausible for everyone.

Bruce placed his first order for 500 LED bulbs to replace the lights in the Catholic Diocese building in Columbus. The cost was 3,000 dollars and they have an expected rebate of 1,500 dollars. Even without the rebate, within three and a half months they will be saving enough money to make the purchase worth it. After the increase of confidence in these bulbs, they started to spread the word to buildings across the area. Schools have the highest interest because they have the most to gain. They have an immense need for lighting and have their lighting in use more often compared to parishes and other buildings. A school in the area has recently placed an order for 100 LED bulbs to sample. They found them to be well worth it and have since placed an order for 400 more bulbs. The success of these LED bulbs is astronomical and with the continued work of Bruce and The Creation Care Team, it will only continue to grow.

This image shows the money that can be saved by using LED bulbs.

This image shows the difference between LED lights and fluorescent lights.