Houses of worship have just been given a few additional carrots to conserve energy. EPA says that the estimated 370,000 US facilities could reduce energy consumption as much as 30%. Even a 10% reduction across the board would provide divine annual savings of about 1 billion tons of greenhouse gases and $315 million.
Some houses of worship have been pursuing improvements for many years. To spur others, EPA announced Sept. 1, 2009, that it is now allowing the best energy-saving facilities to earn an Energy Star label, just as some other types of facilities, such as schools and hospitals, are able to do. The houses of worship also now have a tool for comparing their facility to similar ones.
Other resources include a publication targeted at houses of worship, technical support from EPA, and lists of potential designers, engineers, and contractors. The agency also is providing names of religious organizations and about 1,500 individual congregations around the country that have already embarked on this path, giving you a leg up on finding stories of interest to your audience.