Contest Deadline: Cool Congregations Challenge

The Cool Congregations Challenge is an annual national contest to recognize “Cool Congregations” that are becoming energy efficient and sustainable role models within their communities. The contest is brought to you by Interfaith Power & Light, a nonprofit organization inspiring and mobilizing people of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on climate. There are no fees to enter. Deadline for entries: December 15. Get ready to enter the Challenge this year, or check out the materials so you’ll be ready when the applications go live in 2021.

There are 5 entry categories: 

  • COOL CONGREGATIONS PLANNER
    Audits • Planning Reports • Fundraising
  • ENERGY SAVER
    Lighting • Insulation • Windows & Doors • Heating & Cooling Systems
  • RENEWABLE ROLE MODEL
    Solar • Wind • Geothermal • Solar Water Heating
  • SACRED GROUNDS STEWARD
    Native Landscaping • Organic Gardening • Water Conservation • Bike Racks • Wildlife Habitats • Recycling & Composting
  • COMMUNITY INSPIRATION
    Inspiring congregants to save energy at home  •  helping communities transition from fossil fuels to clean energy •  helping communities become more resilient and prepare for the impacts of climate change

Congregations can also become Certified as Cool Congregations, with increasing levels of achievement.  Certification is an “evergreen” and cumulative program — it can be done anytime, and things done over multiple years count.

September 2020 Newsletter: Learn and Act-Renewable Electricity Webinar

Did you know that in Pennsylvania, you can choose 100% renewable electricity — and you can do so affordably?  Fall and spring are the best times to shop.  We will help with specific recommendations about how to use PA PowerSwitch to plug your house into wind and solar without getting stuck in a “deal” you don’t want. 

Join us for a webinar on Thursday evening, October 15th.  Between 7:00 and 8:00 PM, we’ll walk you through the process using current information.  You’ll get slides you can use at home after the webinar, and if the Internet is robust enough, we may even do a couple of live searches. 

This webinar uses Pennsylvania state resources, and is specifically designed for people living in Pennsylvania.

Registration is required.  A recording and resources will be available to those who register.  There is no fee for this program; your donations help us keep doing the work. 

RECORDING AVAILABLE — Solar Options for Houses of Worship (Main Line PA IPL)

Get the recording of this webinar

July’s (virtual) meeting of the Main Line chapter of PA IPL was a presentation about solar options for faith institutions.  One way to beat the heat of the sun is to put it to work on our behalf.

Get the recording of this webinar


Our meeting will begin at 7 p.m., Monday, July 27. We will spend the first 30 minutes catching up on all that is going on in our different faith institutions. At 7:30, we will hear about: Solar options for Houses of Worship from Joy Baxter. 

Many houses of worship are called by their faith to implement climate change solutions such as rooftop solar.  However, nonprofits are excluded from government incentives for solar installations that are provided through tax incentives.  Several options of how to finance a solar installation for houses of worship will be discussed including an in-depth discussion of the private LLC model, which provides the maximum financial benefit to the congregation. The LLC can be made up of several environmentally conscious small investors from your community who get a modest return of their investment or a large environmentally conscious investor.

Presenter Joy Baxter is an active member of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ardmore where she is the chair of their Green Team. St. Paul’s Green Team is currently pursuing an LLC option for a solar installation at St. Pauls. Joy and her husband installed solar panels on their home 8 years ago and are involved in various solar activities. Joy’s background is in chemical engineering research and she also enjoys playing violin with the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra.

We will conclude our time together by exploring future programming ideas. We look forward to seeing you on Monday night.

Please contact Courtenay Willcox for more information.

Wayne: Chester County Clean Energy Tour

Location: Chester County, including Wayne Central Baptist Church, 106 W Lancaster Ave, Wayne, PA 19087
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

 

Download a flyer here to post and share!

Ever wonder what it would be like for your home, workplace, farm, local government or house of worship to go solar? To become more energy efficient, reduce pollution and save money? Did you know Chester County is a state leader in solar energy and energy efficiency?

We have more than 30 Open Houses at schools, universities, businesses, farms, non-profits, municipalities and homes in Chester County so you can find out! Be inspired at this FREE event that features self-guided tours in four areas across our beautiful the county.

Kick off events will provide an orientation, tour map and suggested route. The homes, businesses, farms, schools and public places you visit will demonstrate green technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal, green design, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and more.

NEW!!! PECO is offering FREE energy assessments for the those who sign up at the tour!

Come to one of our 4 kick off locations at Wayne Central Baptist Church, 106 W Lancaster Ave, Wayne, PA 19087. The church set a goal of being 100% carbon neutral. They installed 48 solar panels in 2009 on a south-facing flat roof. Eastern tour also includes other inspiring examples of local businesses, a local athletic facility, homes and a public school.

This event is free and open to the public —everyone is welcome to attend. Whether you are a solar owner, completely new to solar, or somewhere in between— this event is for you.  Grab a couple of other folks from your congregation and head to the tour.  Make Central Baptist Church in Wayne one of your stops for sure!

Check out Central Baptist Church’s “Getting to Zero” posts here! 

100% Renewable Energy — Rev. Dr. Vincent Kolb’s remarks

On June 19, 2019, the Rev. Dr. Vincent Kolb (pastor of Sixth Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh) gave remarks at the 2019 100% Renewable Lobby Day rally organized by our friends at PennEnvironment.

He’s kindly shared his remarks with us here. Since these remarks were necessarily brief, at the end you’ll find a few links to learn more about the exciting energy resolution of the Pittsburgh Presbytery. Prefer video? His remarks begin at 27 min here.

Good morning!

Eleanor Roosevelt once said

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

We have gathered today because we have a beautiful dream: 100% renewable energy for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2050.

I am here to tell you that people of faith in southwestern PA are working hard to make this beautiful dream a reality. In Pittsburgh Presbytery in 2017, our region of churches submitted a resolution to our national church to divest our national resources from fossil fuels. This is a part of a growing worldwide movement, as clean, renewable sources of energy become responsible and profitable investments. Today, approximately 5.5 trillion dollars have been divested from the fossil fuel industry and faith-based organizations are leading the way at 27% of those institutions making divestment commitments!

We have begun a region-wide effort to provide congregations the opportunity to convert to renewable energy sources: solar panels on roofs and undeveloped properties, cooperative purchase of energy needs, affordable energy audits for aging facilities, and the establishment of neighborhood solar cooperatives. This is in keeping with the vision of Mayor Bill Peduto and our City Council in Pittsburgh, which have pledged the Steel City to be 100% clean energy by 2035.

At the same historic Presbytery meeting in December of 2017, our regional body condemned the construction of the Shell Cracker plant in Beaver County, that will emit 2.25 million tons of CO2 annually in a region that is already in the top 2% for cancer risk because of air pollution. We want our region to be a clean energy hub, not a new cancer alley!

We are part of a faith tradition that has affirmed our responsibility to care for the earth as our home and care for all people, especially our most vulnerable populations who are at risk for cancer, disease, and asthma.  Clergy and lay people of faith will continue to advocate for the care of our home, because our sacred scriptures have commanded us to be good stewards of the gifts God has given us.

Rev. Kolb as the crowd begins to assemble on the steps in the Capitol Rotunda

Who wants 100% renewable energy in PA? We do!
Who wants 100% renewable energy in PA? We do!

Thank you!

Want more? Click through to:

  • sign up to host a screening of Paris to Pittsburgh, a National Geographic film that features work cities, towns, and states are doing to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • learn about the massive petrochemical complex including an multi-state underground storage facility and the first of several gargantuan “cracker plants” which use “wet gas” from fracking for plastics manufacturing.
  • read the three-part resolution itself.
  • peruse the FAQ page that FossilFreePCUSA created in advance of the the 2018 national divestment overture.
  • join PA IPL’s monthly Policy Update calls to stay current on state and federal climate and clean energy policies. Each month includes positive news, a discussion hook, and one state and one federal action item.



100% Renewable Energy— solar installer remarks

Jacob Mann from SunDirected was scheduled to give remarks at the 2019 100% Renewable Lobby Day organized by our friends at PennEnvironment.

Full disclosure: SunDirected is a perennial silver sponsor of our bike trip. They’re in central Pennsylvania. For you Eastern Pennsylvania folks, Exact Solar was also a 2019 silver sponsor, too.

Jacob’s remarks:

Good morning everyone! I want to thank Penn Environment once again for the opportunity to be here and speak.

Continue reading 100% Renewable Energy— solar installer remarks