Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area Energy Benchmarking Program: Project Completed
“You can’t change what you don’t measure.” – Understanding your energy use is the first step in reducing it.
Supports stewardship of environmental and financial resources.
Allows you to target carbon consumption (buildings account for about 42% of a typical faith community’s carbon footprint).
Saves time and money, allowing you to target lowest hanging fruit.
Assists future reporting requirements.
Launched in 2017 and completed in 2020, Faith & the Common Good’s Energy Benchmarking Program helped over 100 faith communities from across the GTHA take their first steps towards practical and economical climate action by measuring and reporting on their annual energy consumption. Each participating faith community received an annual energy report, that by 2020, contained 5 years of data for both electricity and natural gas usage. Each report contained total energy consumed, greenhouse gas emission totals, and energy cost totals. Finally, we also provided faith communities with a benchmarking chart, allowing them to compare their overall energy consumption with the other 100+ faith communities in the program.
Key learning outcomes for participants in the program:
In Ontario, natural gas consumption (vs. electrical consumption) generally drives a building's greenhouse gas emissions because natural gas produces more emissions per unit of energy than electricity.
Electricity is the more costly of the two energy sources, making the switch to cleaner electrical appliances (heat pumps, hot water etc.), a more difficult prospect.
Faith communities understood the importance of reducing energy consumption and impact on the environment. This led to numerous energy-efficient retrofits faith buildings in GTHA, from installing LED lights to retrofitting boilers.
For more about how the GTHA Energy Benchmarking program operated, take a look at some of the previous articles published on Faith & the Common Good’s Blog:
Greening Sacred Spaces (GSS) is our longest-running program. A practical program, GSS assists faith communities with both the educational and spiritual dimensions of greening as well as the “how to” side of audits, retrofits, and generally reducing a faith community’s footprint.
We have developed a number of resources to help faith groups become community leaders in working towards a more sustainable future for all. Click on the links below to find out more about our:
This winter the Ottawa Chapter of FCG is offering a free garden webinar series for local faith communities to learn about how to support the birds, bees and other wildlife on your property. Native birds and bees benefit from simple and easy changes that we can make to our gardens. Providing more “habitat” supports these important species that help strengthen the resiliency of our local ecological systems and also provide many personal benefits to us including mental health and spiritual joy.
During the FCG winter webinar series, we will:
- discuss the reasons why we should be supporting local birds and the bees on our faith community property and the benefits of a more sustainable and ecological landscape;
- share how prayer, meditation, community food and/or sacred space gardens can attract more birds and bees through easy enhancements and simple changes to maintenance techniques;
- highlight some local Ottawa programs and resources that can support both your home and faith community garden (including signage that will let your neighbours know about your efforts!);
- be there to answer your gardening questions and perhaps we can have some cross-pollination with gardeners sharing their own experience with their peers online.
This FREE four-part garden webinar series starts in January 2020. All Ottawa webinar participants (those who attend the webinar) will be entered into a draw to receive some great garden paraphernalia to help with your sustainable efforts at your faith community! We are looking forward to supporting your sustainable and ecological gardening efforts this spring.
Tues January 28 at Noon (EST) – Introduction to The Birds and the Bees of Sustainable Gardening - We will start off with the 5 W’s, providing an overview of ecological and sustainable gardening, why it is important and where to start in your own garden. (LINK)
Tues February 11 at 7 PM (EST) – Supporting Wild Pollinators in your Gardens – What Wild Bees are Visiting your Sacred Space? Our focus will be on wild bees and other beneficial insects you will meet in your landscapes and how to support them. (LINK)
Wed February 26 at Noon (EST) - Gardening for Wildlife – guest presentation by Canadian Wildlife Federation - The CWF program highlights the key “ingredients” to a successful and beautiful garden that will support local wildlife. (LINK)
Wed March 11 at 7 PM (EDT) – The Birds and the Bees of Sustainable Gardening – What Next? This final webinar will focus on new research and how to apply it to your gardens, local resources and any other final questions you may have to help get you started for spring gardening. (LINK)
This series is being offered as part of the Ottawa Interfaith Sustainable Garden Network. Please contact Katherine Forster to join the OISG Network and received the Ottawa Chapter - Sustainable Garden Network newsletter which is sent out 4-6 times a year providing updates on local garden resources and new FCG Outdoor Greening programs.
As always, FCG Ottawa staff is here to help support faith community staff and volunteers working outdoors on their landscape and gardens and those who want to add a new sustainable garden component to their property. Let us know what your needs are in terms of your sacred landscape and ecological gardens — we are here to help!
Give Katherine Forster a call today (1-866-231-1877 x 107) or send an email to: [email protected]