Learn How to Green Your House of Worship at Feb. 22 Workshop

By Johanna Schweiss, Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator,
USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter

Over 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States come from the building sector. Anywhere there is a building, there is an opportunity to measure its energy use and make changes to conserve energy, save money, improve building occupant experience, and protect the environment. This is a huge opportunity to make a difference – in our homes, our workplaces, our schools and our houses of worship.

For many congregations, saving energy can mean more than a lower energy bill. From Catholic to Buddhist, Muslim to Presbyterian, Methodist to Bahá’í, faith traditions from all over the world have ethical and moral framework for stewardship of the environment. Missouri Interfaith Power and Light, an organization that engages faith communities and individuals from all backgrounds to take action on climate change, has collected a number of these statements on their website (www.moipl.org/green-resources).

Missouri Interfaith Power and Light and the U.S. Green Building Council- Missouri Gateway Chapter, a non-profit that works to make every building a green building, have teamed up to support congregations as they improve their energy efficiency and reduce their environmental impacts. In the Fall of 2014, we were excited to receive a grant from the national USGBC that funded 10 complimentary energy audits for congregations.

Since those audits were awarded, energy auditors have been working hard to investigate opportunities for energy savings in the congregations’ facilities, and are providing each with a report that details potential strategies for energy savings. Going forward, these congregations will be reviewing their reports and considering their potential next steps.
To aid them in this process, the Missouri Interfaith Power & Light, the USGBC – Missouri Gateway Chapter and the Jewish Environmental Initiative, a committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council, are inviting congregations to reunite in a workshop titled “Green your House of Worship: Building Success for a Better Building and a Better Planet” on February 22nd. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the results of the ten congregational energy audits, become familiar with strategies for financing energy efficiency improvements, and connect with members of the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter, volunteers that have expertise in green building and sustainability, to begin developing a low-cost, high impact action plan to green their building operations. Through a whole-building approach, all aspects of sustainable building operations (energy use, water use, purchasing, management of the building site, and indoor environmental quality) will be considered.

Congregations of all faith backgrounds are welcome to attend this workshop and the event is free, but registration is required.

Save the date for Sunday, February 22nd at 1:00 pm and visit www.usgbc-mogateway.org to learn more and register.