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1999 NCC News Archives

NCC Receives EPA Grant to Develop "Energy Star Congregations"

February 3, 1999, NEW YORK -- An innovative program encouraging congregations to make their church buildings more energy efficient has been initiated by the National Council of Churches (NCC), thanks to a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"Energy Star Congregations," a project of the NCC’s Eco-Justice Working Group, invites local congregations to take concrete steps toward making their buildings more energy conserving and energy efficient, such as:

"This program, which will save energy and money for congregations, is greatly needed," said the Rev. Richard Killmer, NCC Environmental Justice Director. "It is also in keeping with principles of the Christian faith including respect for God’s creation to support present and future generations and compassion for the poor. Cutting down on energy consumption frees up natural and monetary resources to support the church’s mission."

An initial mailing about the Energy Star Congregations program, including a brochure and church bulletin insert, will be sent to 15,000 congregations this month.

Dr. Job Ebenezer, Director of Environmental Stewardship and Hunger Education for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Co-Chair of the NCC’s Eco-Justice Working Group, reported that a special effort already is underway in Iowa. The NCC has contracted with the Center for Energy and Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa in Dubuque, Iowa, to serve as a national clearinghouse of information.

A toll-free number, 800-288-1346, is based at the Center. Pastors and congregants can call this phoneline to receive concrete information about how to perform energy audits and how to take steps to be more energy efficient.

With the collaboration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s Northeastern Iowa Synod, the Center has provided free energy audits for churches and church-related institutions. So far, 66 audits have been completed. Center staff also have begun giving presentations in schools, teaching children how to do energy audits of their homes and churches.

"Success stories are already evident," Rev. Killmer said. "The church’s potential in this area is great."


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