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What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: When your faith building is wasting energy and money!

Within our faith communities we all help out; that’s the ‘community’ in faith community. Some people take care of the building — often the most thankless job, because if they do a good job, no one notices anything. These dedicated people care about the building, but unfortunately don’t always understand how their building works, which is completely normal. In highschool, we were not taught how to maintain our homes let alone maintain and operate large, oftentimes massive places of worship. For example, the huge decorative ceiling grilles in many places of worship are, from my experience, 95% of the time open to the attic. One church I worked with had four 8-foot diameter ceiling vents and the congregation couldn’t worship in the space in the summer because the heat coming off the roof drove them out! How would people know this? They wouldn’t, since we don’t have anything comparable in our homes. So to the building maintenance teams reading this, don’t be hard on yourselves.

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Greening Canadian Mosques: Program Launch

In partnership with EnviroMuslims and with generous funding from Olive Tree Foundation, Faith & the Common Good has launched Greening Canadian Mosques, the first program of its kind giving Canadian mosques the tools and resources they need to embed sustainable practices and policies within their facilities.

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At a crossroads for restoring our common home

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“In this Easter season of renewal, let us pledge to love and esteem the beautiful gift of the earth, our common home, and to care for all members of our human family.”
Pope Francis, Earth Day 2020

 

The growing signs of springtime wonder can help renew us as we deal with this third wave of the pandemic. Our own health and wellbeing is deeply interconnected with the health and wellbeing of others and our common planetary home. Yet inequalities are deepening as climate change, the pandemic and vaccine shortage continue to disproportionately affect the poor and vulnerable.

The pandemic has not put climate change on hold. Earlier this month NOAA reported that greenhouse gas emissions surged in 2020 despite pandemic shutdowns. Carbon dioxide reached a level last seen on earth around 3.6 million years ago when sea levels were about 78 feet higher and large forests grew in the Arctic.

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Let Your Light Shine: LEDs, solar panels and greening faith buildings

McClure United Church in Saskatoon is shining new light on its congregation. 

“The choir in particular appreciates being able to see the music and words the way the composer intended,” chuckles Angie Bugg, when she tells me about the lighting improvements in the church sanctuary. 

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Photo credit: Angie Bugg

A board member of the property committee, and a mechanical engineer herself, Angie says that replacing their fussy lighting system (from the late 1980s) and transitioning to energy efficient LED lighting has made a big difference. 

“LED lighting is so much more efficient than any of the other kinds of lighting that we have,” she says. “It’s worth upgrading the lighting of any space that is used even just a little bit to LED. You know you’ll get a good payback on it.”

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New Energy Efficiency Grant Available for Faith Communities in Alberta

New Energy Efficiency Grant Available for Faith Communities in Alberta

The Alberta government has released the Energy Savings for Businesses (ESB), a new energy savings grant program that includes nonprofits and cooperatives. The great news is that faith communities qualify for this funding opportunity.

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The ESB grant allows each participant to access up to $250,000 per building. An à la carte menu of eligible items indicates what percentage of the costs per item the grant covers.

Some examples of items that can have 25% of the costs covered include qualifying LED fixtures, lighting controls, and solar photovoltaic installations.

Qualifying Energy Star boilers and furnaces, and air source heat pumps can have up to 50% of the costs paid for by the grant. As well, you can access 50% of the grant for the costs of increasing your insulation to meet the standard outlined, or for installing new Energy Star windows.

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Villa St. Joseph: Green Audit

We are Villa St. Joseph Ecology & Spirituality Centre in Cobourg, Ontario. 

For us, it is important that both practical and spiritual aspects of ecology be integrated and run sustainably not only within our programming and ministry but, as well, throughout our buildings and land.

About twenty years ago, we had an audit done, and it was time for another. In November of 2020, we became aware of Faith & Common Good’s Green Audit Program. This program typically assesses seven key areas: Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Kitchen & Washrooms, Air Quality, Renovations & Construction, and Activities. 

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New Energy Efficiency Grant Available for Faith Communities in Prince Edward Island

The Prince Edward Island (PEI) government has released a new grant program called Community Energy Solutions for small businesses and non-profit groups. The great news is that faith communities in the province qualify for this grant.

To start off, the grant includes a FREE energy audit, which will help you develop an appropriate plan that makes sense for your faith community from a financial as well as an energy efficiency perspective. 

Once you get the report from your free energy audit, the Community Energy Solutions Program may cover 1x your annual energy savings, 50% of the cost of your energy efficiency project, or $25,000, whichever of the three is less. 

Applying for this grant does not impact your eligibility for other grants offered by efficiencyPEI. You remain eligible for the Business Energy Rebates and the Solar Electric Rebates.

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Energy Benchmarking Program for GTHA Faith Communities Concludes

Press release: Energy Benchmarking Program for GTHA Faith Communities Concludes

Toronto, ON – You can’t change what you don’t measure. When it comes to tracking energy usage in order to reduce consumption, faith communities in the GTHA have had an opportunity to do just that. Starting in 2017, with a three-year, $295,200 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Faith & the Common Good (FCG) launched the Faith Building Energy Benchmarking Program that engaged over 100 faith groups in tracking their electric, gas, and GHG consumption with monthly data from their utility companies.

“This program is about Faith Communities coming together to look after future generations by reducing their carbon footprint and their impact on the environment. What could be a greater act of faith than coming together to help save the planet?” - MPP Chris Glover (Spadina-Fort York) Funds from the grant have been used to help with costs involving staffing, hosting workshops and webinars over the period of the grant, upgrading and maintaining the website, printing costs, and program supplies, as well as some administrative costs.

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