Tag Archives: energy efficiency

8 Days of Hanukkah, my True Love said to me:

“Please Heal My Earth”

This year, Christmas and Hanukkah converge for the first time in nearly four decades.  Both Christians and Jews will light lights in the darkness tonight, on December 24.  Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center suggests a re-visioning of the menorah as a symbol of our ability to do all of what we need with only 1/8th of what we thought we needed, and suggests eight days of actions which we all can embrace.  Let them inspire you to action, whether these very actions, or some others, rooted in your own faith, wisdom, and traditions.  Reb Arthur: 


Hanukkah brings with it again this year three crucial teachings about healing our Mother Earth from the ravages of global scorching.

The Green Menorah, a Tree of Light that is a fusion of human craft and Earth’s growth. On this Shabbat we read the Prophetic passage from Zechariah (2:14 to 4: 12) that emplaces the Temple Menorah as part of a tiny forest of olive trees that give forth their oil straight into the Menorah.

We breathe in what these Trees of Light breathe out; they breathe in what we breathe out. We Continue reading

Below Zero. Behold the power of the BHAG.

Check back here for a one-a-day series of actions and solutions from now until 12/11.

A BHAG is a Big, Hairy Audacious Goal (pronounced “bee-hag”)  Pretty great, right?  Read on for Central Baptist Church’s story of dropping BELOW zero, including member transportation to and from church.  There are a few links to previous stories here, and we hope to have some more pictures and some follow up pieces as time marches on, but this story just couldn’t wait any longer.

207826_214699188546806_5287405_nGetting To Zero (CO2 Emissions) at Central Baptist Church

Summary: On Sunday, October 11, 2015, Central Baptist Church (CBC) in Wayne, PA, celebrated achieving “minus Zero” in its Getting to Zero campaign to reduce congregational carbon emissions.  The campaign was designed and conducted by the Ecology Mission Group (EMG) at CBC.

Chuck sells LED'15w

Chuck Marshall selling an LED as part of the CBC Ecology Mission Team.

  CBC’s EMG decided to offset its CO2 emissions several years ago, and focused at first on offsetting emissions from the operation of the building; i.e., the emissions from the use of electricity and natural gas, which the EMG estimated to total 41,000 pounds per year. The EMG developed three programs, described below, to offset these emissions:  solar panels, light bulbs, and wind energy. 

After these programs brought building use to carbon neutral in 2014, the EMG realized that an even greater carbon footprint than building use was probably congregational travel.  During 2015 the Getting to Zero campaign encouraged families to estimate and then to purchase offsets to their own CBC-related travel.  With help from the congregation, EMG estimated these emissions at 66,000 pounds per year. Over the summer of 2015, more than enough offsets were purchased to declare the congregation “minus Zero”.

central baptist church, wayne rooftop solarDetails: To offset the building emissions, CBC has three programs. One is a set of 48 solar panels installed on the flat roof of a wing of the church building. The panels were started in May 2009 and, since then approximately 71,000 Kwh of electricity have been generated. This is only an offset program because it lowers the electricity that CBC purchases from PECO. CBC does not count as offsets the Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) it receives and sells, because the sale of the credits allows someone else to emit carbon dioxide.  

CBC also offsets building operation CO2 emissions through a program called Bright Idea under which CBC yearly gives approximately 800 compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to social centers which then give the CFLs and LEDs to their clients to install in their homes or apartments. Based upon a survey done of the hours that the replaced bulbs operated, those emission offsets amount to 7,800 lbs. per year.

CBC also purchases wind energy from a supplier for 100 percent of its electricity use. The amount of electric consumption is metered after the solar panel electricity is used within the church or the excess is placed on the grid. Between Bright Idea and the purchase of wind energy, CBC offsets all of its emissions from the burning of natural gas and the electricity used.

How they got there: celebration display!

How they got there: celebration display!

It also occurred to the EMG that a lot of people drive vehicles to church every Sunday and that there are a lot of trips to church for meetings during the week, a lot of staff trips to and from church and several members and the pastors take long distance trips to Baptist board meetings and other conferences and events. The EMG felt that these CO2 emissions be counted also as an effect of operating a church. In fact, EMG did a gross estimate of these emissions and they were at 66,000 lbs. per year while the emissions from the electricity and gas were 41,000 lbs. The EMG also decided to find an emission factor for paper as a proxy for all of the emissions from the purchasing of products that support the worship services and communicate with members, like paper. The emission rate found for paper manufacturing was 27.5 lbs. of CO2 per ream of paper for 112 reams per year.

Having determined that travel-related emissions exceeded all other emissions, CBC decided to embark on a program called Getting To Zero. Each person or family unit was asked to complete a form that would result in an emissions figure for their church-related travel. More than one-half the people did not complete their form but gave the committee permission to fill it out for them. This detailed emission inventory was very close to the gross estimate of emissions made for CBC. The range of CO2 emissions for most people/families was from about 100 lbs. per year up to 2200 lbs. per year. The staff emissions were from 800 lbs. per year up to about 3500 lbs. Next, the committee produced the table shown below as Table 2 and a set of instructions that help individuals and families chose how to offset their emissions. Not going to church was not offered or encouraged. The choices were installing LEDs or CFLs, buying wind energy from a supplier, or any other option the family/person could choose (e.g., geothermal energy).

CBC children made a giant ZERO to parade with in the sanctuary in celebration!

CBC children made a giant ZERO to parade with in the sanctuary in celebration!

The options have subtle differences. For example, the tree plantings must be done every year while the LED lights offsets occur for as long as the bulbs are used. The option chosen the most was tree planting. We are working with a non-profit organization called Trees, Water, People in Fort Collins, Colorado.   The cost only amounts to $1 per ton of offset which we will pay for each year. The organization is not certified for their tree plantings because of the large cost it would take for a relatively small non-profit to become internationally certified. TWP plants trees in several counties, one of which is El Salvador. CBC has a sister church, Shekina, in Santa Anna, about 12 miles from one of TWP’s tree nurseries and forests.

CBC estimates that for the first year of this program, the baseline CO2 emissions of 108,000 pounds per year have been exceeded by the offsets of 123,000 pounds of carbon dioxide; getting to minus zero.

Table 1. Estimated CBC Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Source Category Algorithm CO2 Emissions Rate Emissions of CO2 Source of Data and Comments
Electricity 36,000 kwh per year (PECO bills) 0.44548 Kg CO2 per kwh 16,037 kg*2.214 lbs=35,507 2012 EPA data.
Natural Gas 6228 CCF gas consumed per year (PECO bills) 0.1848 Kg CO2/ccf 2548 lbs. + 876 for mission house= 3424 2012 data. AP-42 shows 0.12 lbs per ccf.
Paper purchases #reams = 135. *3 pages/copy*54 services=44 reams plus 20 newslttrs *5 sheets*50 copies = 10.0 reams plus copies of 2 reams per week * 52 weeks 12.5 Kg CO2/ream of paper = 112*12.5 kg*2.2 lbs per Kg 3080 pounds CO2 per year Paper industry website
Travel To and Fro
   Staff 3 cars *5 days/wk*48 weeks * 10 miles/trip = 7200 miles/yr 0.260585 Kg CO2e/mile 4154 pounds CO2 per year
   Sunday 110 people/wk/1.5 families per car= 73.3 trips*48 wks*20 miles/trip- 70,368 miles 0.260585 Kg CO2/mile 40,598 pounds CO2 per year
   Weekday mtgs. 50% of Sunday 20,299 Assumption

                                                                                 Grand total           107,886 lbs. CO2 per year

The summary of carbon dioxide emissions by category is as follows.

Electricity Consumption                                33.2 percent
Natural Gas Consumption                             3.2
Operations as rep. by paper reams             2.8
Staff travel to CBC                                           3.8
Sunday roundtrips                                          38.0
Weekday trips to CBC                                   ­­  19.0__
Total                                                                  100.0

Table 2. Carbon Dioxide Offset Options for CBC Members

(Lbs./yr) CO2                         KWH/Yr                           LED Lights                         Trees to Have
Emissions                            To Offset                         To Install                          Planted

100 71 1 1
200 143 2 1
400 286 3 2
600 429 4 3
800 571  5 4
1000 714 6 5
1200

 

No need to wait— the Paris Pledge

Check back here for a one-a-day series of actions and solutions from now until 12/11.

International leaders brought emissions-reduction commitments with them to this conference.  Those commitments are not yet binding, and they’re not yet enough to keep us under 2 degrees Celsius* of warming, but they’re working on it (keep those prayers flowing—they’re needed!)  We, however, don’t have to wait for an international agreement to make our own changes.  The  Paris Pledge is open to both congregations and to individuals; it is a promise to cut emissions 50% by 2030 and to zero by 2050.

Benedictines getting ready for the drive back to Erie after the Interfaith Moral Advocacy Training in Harrisburg in August 2015.

Benedictines getting ready for the drive back to Erie after the Interfaith Moral Advocacy Training in Harrisburg in August 2015.

One institution that signed on issued the press release that follows.  Thank you for your leadership, Sister Pat Lupo and the Benedictines of Erie!

NOTE: Both congregations and individuals may continue to add their commitments at the Paris Pledge website.  Signatures through last Wednesday have been added to a large scroll that is with the Rev. Canon Sally Bingham and Sister Joan Brown in Paris, which will be presented on December 11 at the conference, in the Blue Zone (that’s the zone with the international bigwigs).  Tune in tomorrow for the story of a congregation that has REACHED carbon neutral — including members’ transportation to church!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Benedictine Sisters of Erie Sign Paris Pledge

Erie, Pennsylvania – November 24, 2015 – Long known as environmental leaders in the Erie area, the Benedictine Sisters of Erie have taken a decisive step in their commitment to environmental sustainability by pledging to reduce their carbon pollution by 50% by 2030 and to become carbon neutral by 2050. They along with 150 other Religious Organizations and 3,500 individuals have signed the Paris Pledge. A scroll with the pledge and all its signers will be presented at the international climate conference being held in Paris, France over the next several weeks. It is hoped that the 150 nations represented at CPO21, the 21st “Conference of Parties” will establish internationally agreed upon targets to curb ongoing Climate Change.

The Paris Pledge was developed by Interfaith Power and Light, an organization of 18,000 religious congregations and organizations located in 40 states throughout the US. Through this pledge they intend to lead by example and clearly state that Faith Leaders in the US are committed to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the impact of human activity on Climate Change.

“Care for the earth has been integral to the Benedictine Charism since our very foundation in the 6th century,” explains Sister Anne Wambach, Prioress. “The Erie Benedictines have consciously and deliberately included this responsibility in our community’s Corporate Commitment and have taken significant steps, both as community and as individuals, to deepen our understanding and take concrete and intentional actions toward sustainable living.”

Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si`, clearly lays out the crisis that our planet faces and calls all of us, all nations, all religions, all people, to a find a common solution to Climate Change. In his words: “I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. . . .  Regrettably, many efforts . . . have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions. We require a new and universal solidarity. . . . All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.” (14)

“We urge everyone to make his/her their own commitment to reduce carbon pollution through energy conservation, purchasing electricity from a ‘green provider,’ and making use of renewable energy products and sources,” Sister Anne continued. “If we expect nations to commit to significant energy policies, then we should do so ourselves, at home, in the workplace, in our churches, and in all the places that touch our lives.”

For further information regarding the Paris Pledge and practical ways to reduce carbon pollution, please contact Annette Marshall, OSB (572-8325) or Pat Lupo, OSB (490-3108).

 

*2 degrees Celsius never sounds like much.  It’s important to realize that that’s a global average.  The 20th century global average that is the baseline against which that change is marked is 13.9 degrees Celsius.  That means that a 2C increase for the Earth is proportionally the same as a 14 F increase in body temperature (for a deadly body temp of more than 112F) for a human being.  Perspective is everything!  

When I was cold, you warmed up my house.

Weatherization First is a project of PA IPL that started in Centre County in October 2013… less than a year ago.  We’ve now helped 18 homes, and some key leaders in other areas of PA are starting to figure out how to create similar projects in their areas.

After the Penn State chapter of PA IPL completed an internal storm window build, they went back to interview one of the recipients.  Cathie McLendon has generously given us permission to share her interview. Let the video inspire you to come out to our Weatheriztion First fundraiser at Ace Hardware of State College this Saturday (and check out the WJAC channel 6 story that ran on the 11:00 news on May 14, too). 

Keep the light burning.

#GivingTuesday is a little strange — it feels oddly commercial fordanielmenorah an expression of the widely-held desire to return our collective focus to the values and wonder of the season, but here we are, and the work of PA IPL has never been more needed.  Please do use today to support our work financially, and reach out tomorrow to find out how to increase your participation. And, of course, pray for success greater than the sum of the parts. Nurture hope in the darkness. Lean toward the Light.

What are we up to?

Positively Green: A Service Day Alternative to State Patty’s Day

On February 23, 2013 Penn State students hold the third annual Positively Green day of service.  Last year, 30 students, faculty and staff undertook a two-hour training session, and then went out into the community, helping State College neighbors make their houses more energy efficient.

We began at 10:30 am, with a full day of activities:

10:30 AM  Training in the Frizzell Room of the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center (corner of Curtain and Allen on campus, right across from the libraries)

12:00 PM  lunch!

12:30 PM  move to local worksites to begin energy efficiency work in low-income homes

3:00 PM   regroup at Pasquerilla (with cookies!)

4:00 PM   adjourn

image10911ith financial support from the Rock Ethics Institute and generous donations from our corporate sponsors (Lowe’s and Wal-Mart),our students changed light bulbs, installed weather-stripping, and upgraded homes with low-flow shower heads and hot water pipe insulation (see more pictures here). Students also learned how to discuss energy usage and encourage folks to make lifestyle choices that save energy and protect our planet.

 

 

 

Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light is proud to sponsor the first student IPL in the nation—thanks, Penn State students, for being part of the climate change solution!

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