The Five Steps to Energy Conservation
The five steps to energy conservation include passing a governing board resolution, choosing an energy steward, establishing a baseline and target for energy use, identifying energy conservation measures, and publicizing and celebrating results.
Have your House of Worship’s Governing Body Make a Public Commitment to Conserve Energy
When institutional leaders make a public commitment, they are more likely to change behavior. Publicize your commitment towards energy conservation in your newsletter, in a sermon, or in another public venue. Passing a governing board resolution can be a particularly effective public commitment--click here to access a sample resolution.
Choose an Energy Steward
Without making energy an individual’s job, conservation slips through the cracks. Assign a person within the congregation, particularly someone well versed in energy conservation (such as a person on the buildings and grounds committee), to monitor energy usage and enforce new habits. The Steward should:
- Establish a baseline of current energy use
- Monitor monthly use in relation to the baseline
- Oversee energy education of leaders
- Oversee conservation measures
- Make periodic reports to the governing body to make conservation a habit
Establish a Baseline and a Target for your Energy Use
Without a baseline, you won’t know if you’ve saved energy. You also can't set goals until you know where your energy usage stands currently. Here's are some tips for establishing a baseline and targets:
- Gather your past two years’ energy bills.
- Enter the monthly energy usage figures (not cost) into an excel spreadsheet.
- In separate columns in the same spreadsheet, or in a different spreadsheet, enter cost figures, accounting for any utility increases that may skew potential savings.
- Calculate the greenhouse gas emissions of your energy usage and include that in the spreadsheet.
- Set goals for your quarterly and annual energy use, mindful that seasonal variation from year to year is inevitable.
- Aim for a 10% reduction in relation to the baseline during your first year.
Identify Energy Conservation MeasuresThrough energy audits at 2 dozen houses of worship, GreenFaith has identified twelve priority items which, when addressed, tend to yield the greatest energy savings.
These actions are generally divided into five sections: People; Temperature; Lighting; Appliances; and Water.
Evaluate Results, Praise and Publicize, take Next Steps
Publicity and celebration are key ingredients for a successful energy conservation campaign. It's important to educate and publicize the wide variety of issues that pertain to energy conservation, including the religious values, and the links between energy, the environment, and financial responsibility. Here are some tips:
- Have your Energy Steward monitor financial and environmental impact.
- Report results – financial and environmental.
- Publicize your success; praise your leaders! Write a news release for your newsletter and local paper stating that your house of worship is fighting global warming through energy conservation.
- Involve members in a fun way, such as a contest to have them guess the energy and/or cost savings for a prize. See Temple Beth Rishon's Watt$ Green Worth contest and publicity.