The Energy Benchmarking Program (EBP) is a free program that helps faith communities to take practical and cost-effective climate action by raising awareness and understanding their buildings' energy use and emissions. The EBP uses the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, an energy management tool, to display energy costs & usage. It shows a baseline energy use and identify areas for improvement over a 3 year period. Every year, participants receive an annual report detailing their energy consumption and changes over time.
These case studies tell the stories of 10 participants on Ottawa from 2019-2022 with GSS Ottawa.
Katrine K Handley-Derry
December 11, 2019
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Our Energy Benchmarking Program
Understanding your current energy use is the first step in reducing it. Launched in 2017, our Energy Benchmarking Program is helping faith communities take practical and economical climate action by lowering their energy use and emissions.
The Energy Benchmarking program:
1. Supports stewardship of environmental and financial resources. 2. It allows you to target carbon consumption (buildings account for about 42% of a typical faith community’s carbon footprint). 3. Saves time and money, allowing you to target the lowest hanging fruit. 4. Assists future reporting requirements.
The Collaborative Implementation Groups (CIG) project targeted 12 municipalities throughout the Great Lakes watershed to identify and implement an adaptation initiative in their community over the period of one year (January 2017 – December 2017). The output of this project was the creation of 12 case studies, which outline the experience of each municipality as they implement their specified initiatives.
One of those municipalities was the City of Brampton, where census data demonstrated that 90% of Brampton citizens had religious affiliations. All major faith groups were represented and made frequent use of 79 registered places of worship across the City. The presence of faith-based communities in Brampton brought to light a new method of sharing information and spreading resilience across vulnerable communities. From this realization, the Lighthouse Project began.
Our Regeneration Works: Places of Faith project works with rural and urban places of faith to create community spaces that are both viable and successful. Whether the goal is to keep the doors open or make strategic real estate decisions that serve the faith group and the community, the National Trust and Faith & the Common Good offer hope, inspiration, and solutions based on our work from across the country.
Nine Anglican parishes across Canada conducted a Greening Sacred Spaces (GSS) Green Audit in their churches in 2013, facilitated and paid in part by the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC). All nine audits were completed between October 22 and December 2 of 2013, with seven in Ontario, one in Quebec, and one in Nova Scotia.
This is a 2014 end of year report concerning their experiences, main audit findings, and the work that has been completed thus far in response to the audit for each of these nine parishes.
Read how other faith communities are expanding their mission outdoors through various gardens including xeriscape, labyrinth, pollinator, sacred medicine wheel, and wildflower gardens.
To support the Faith & the Common Good Outdoor Greening program and the Ottawa Interfaith Sustainable Garden Network program, the following case studies have been created. Within these resources you will find examples of both larger suburban projects along with small urban sites including sidewalks. Some gardens were initiated with very little money, while others sought out grants and other financial support. Find out how your garden team can do the same with a review of our case studies that include lessons learned and keys to success! A special thanks to our funders the Ottawa Community Foundation and the City of Ottawa (CEPGP) and all the faith communities who shared their stories, photos, and enthusiasm for their Care for Creation outdoor projects with us!
These Outdoor Greening Case Studies are available both as ONE BOOKLET (see final link below "All 10 Outdoor Greening Case Studies") or they can be downloaded INDIVIDUALLY if you only want a few specific case studies.
We recommend you download the BOOKLET (which is the last pdf file below) unless you only want a few. Each individual case study must be downloaded separately - so this may take some time. If you do want the set of 10 individual case studies please contact Katherine Forster and she can send you the set (phone: 1-866-231-1877 x 107, email: [email protected]).
Kitchissippi United Church - Depave Project
Kitchissippi United Church transformed a grey asphalt courtyard into a green lush entranceway that parishioners and building tenants benefit from and enjoy. Green landscapes can help soak up rainwater and lessen the burden of local storm water and sewer systems while also cooling down microclimates that add to the heat island effect of cities… Download PDF (2.5 MB)
Trinity Presbyterian Church (Kanata) - Pollinator Garden
The Trinity Presbyterian pollinator garden in Kanata is home to native plants that provide nectar and pollen to beneficial insects and birds. Native pollinators are an essential component to the ecology of plants, ensuring that flowers are fertilized and food can grow. Supporting a variety of pollinators promotes a strong, biodiverse local ecosystem… Download PDF (3.5 MB)
Trinity United Church – Wildflower Garden
Trinity United Church’s wildflower garden initially conceived by their Church in Society Committee, was installed in the back lawn of the faith community’s property and has evolved over time.time. Native wildflowers are better able to survive local conditions including temperatures and drought and require less maintenance including pesticides than their more exotic counterparts… Download PDF (2.5 MB)
First Unitarian – Meditation Garden
The First Unitarian Meditation Gardens have been designed and maintained by the First Unitarian church over the past twenty years for the benefit of all groups on the sixacre campus plus visitors from the entire city. It was designed to be an urban oasis for “relaxation, restoration, observation and meditation”… Download PDF (3.0 MB)
Centretown United Church – Sidewalk Community Garden
At Centretown United Church, raised sidewalk planters that held trees for more than 30 years have been transformed by the installation of a community garden. Something valuable has been created from the derelict empty planters for the church, the community and for Centre 507, a downtown Drop-In… Download PDF (1.95 MB)
St. Luke's Anglican – Sidewalk Community Garden
Empty spaces that had once held city shade trees for more than 30 years have been transformed by St. Luke’s Parish through the installation of gardens to grow fresh produce for the local St. Luke’s Table meal program. These gardens are now a valuable community asset and have brought back to life a… Download PDF (1.8 MB)
The Anglican Parish of March_St. John's Church_Outdoor Labyrinth
St John’s Church in Kanata provides an outdoor meditation experience for both its congregation and the larger neighbourhood community with their labyrinth garden. An outdoor labyrinth is a versatile addition to a faith community. A labyrinth walk is a spiritual and meditative tool that can be used for various purposes. It’s also a pleasant and unique landscape design that… Download PDF (3.2 MB)
Glebe St. James United Church – Medicine Wheel
The Glebe-St. James United Church Sacred Medicine Wheel garden is a visible sign of the faith community’s allyship with First Nation communities. A Medicine Wheel garden represents the cycles of nature and is grown for medicinal purposes and harvested to be used as peace offerings. The First Nation relationship with… Download PDF (2.8 MB)
Knox United Church – Community Garden
With a large expanse of lawn, support from the City of Ottawa’s Community Garden Network Fund and a generous bequest, Knox United Church has created a wonderful local gardening space that is open to both congregants and community members. Community gardens such as these allow people to grow local healthy fresh produce that doesn’t have to… Download PDF (1.15 MB)
Special Faith Community & Cultural Gardens
This case study shares some of the details of three other special faith community and cultural gardens found in Ottawa. They are an inspiration for their ingenuity, community spirit and cultural significance. Each has a unique focus and approach and have been successful in gathering local support and volunteer dedication… Download PDF (2.98 MB)
Our original “Greening in Faith Communities: Ten Community Profiles” (2008) lists case studies from 10 diverse faith communities from across Ontario, focusing on community actions and building improvements.