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Energy Star for Congregations: A Guiding Light

The United States (US) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created and manages the Energy Star program. You may know the brand when buying an appliance for your home, selecting the most efficient appliance possible. They also work with buildings, and specifically congregations! (As an aside, Natural Resources Canada created the EnerGuide program, which we sold to the US, and they rebranded it as Energy Star, and now we use both programs here in Canada). Although US- centric, their resources are really great tools to help Canadian congregations take on energy saving actions and activities. 

To start, we, at Faith & the Common Good (FCG) are the only Canadian faith-based organization to have co-branded with EPA, producing the amazingly helpful Energy Star Action Workbook. It even has Dundas United Cardigan, NS on the cover replacing windows! Paired with our DIY Energy Audit Walkthrough Guide, these two resources are an outstanding way to take energy savings action in your congregation.

Another useful tool that they have is Energy Star Portfolio Manager. This tool helps you track your building’s energy bills and consumption and puts it into easy to use and understand diagrams. Our Energy Manager, David Patterson has the second largest database behind Natural Resources Canada of faith community buildings! So if you need some help with energy benchmarking, you can click here.

Beyond energy, the US EPA also has a Green Stormwater Solutions for Congregations guide that can really empower your garden team to a whole new level. When you pair that guide with our Native Plant Garden Guide and Community Garden Guide then you have a full suite of incredible tools to truly make your landscaping a community and environmental showcase. 

There is even a guidebook to improve your air quality by the EPA. The Supporting Healthy Houses of Worship is an excellent guidebook to start the conversations and become more aware of the air quality of your building.

Finally, US EPA has a great page of resources on how to start an energy-efficiency conversation with your place of worship. It is called the Employee Education Kit but it is easily adaptable to use in your faith community to start discussing the importance of energy efficiency within your congregation. Pair those tools up with FCG’s guides on How To Start Your Own Green Team and you and your congregation will have a much easier journey towards saving the planet, saving energy and saving money all at the same time!  

You can also utilize our professional knowledge with virtual Green Audits that look at energy, air quality, food, water, waste, maintenance, rental agreements, heritage and much more. 

The more you can learn about your building, the more you can save energy, minimize maintenance costs, and maximize the usage of your amazing faith community building. 


Faithful Footprints Program

The United Church of Canada (UCC) Faithful Footprints program offers grants, tools and inspiration to help its congregations reduce their carbon footprint. With UCC’s commitment to reducing its greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions 80% by 2050, this one of a kind program offers up to $30,000 in grants towards energy conservation and renewable energy projects (conditions apply).

Faith & the Common Good is the delivery partner for UCCs Faithful Footprints program.  To date, we have engaged over 200 UCC congregations, camps, and buildings across the country. Your participation in the program puts your faith into action and helps UCC reach its target. 

Stephen Collette is the Building Manager for Faith & the Common Good and can be reached at 705-930-1011 EDT, [email protected] 

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