The Energy Stewards Initiative

Seeds
02/24/2014

Energy stewards
Congregations participating in the Energy Stewards Initiative typically reduce their energy use and costs by 10 percent.

What if you could save money on your congregation’s monthly utility bills and use the money saved to help fund ministries that reach and benefit your community and members?

Wouldn’t that be great?

The Energy Stewards Initiative program does just that. The Initiative is a one- to two-year program for ELCA congregations and outdoor ministry sites that helps:

  • Reduce energy use
  • Shrink carbon footprints
  • Save and redirect money for mission and ministry

“Energy Stewards Initiative has helped our congregation focus on energy and water use in a systematic, organized way. We’ve long been concerned about being good stewards of God's creation. The Initiative gives us some important tools to quantify how we are doing and where we can improve,” said Ken Westlake of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Arlington Heights, Ill.

Lutherans Restoring Creation sponsors the Energy Stewards Initiative program, and it’s carried out in cooperation with Rapid Improvement Associates of Madison, Wis. Congregations and outdoor ministries track their energy and water use online, follow an action plan, engage in bi-monthly webinars and benefit from the wisdom of program leaders and other participants.

Each congregation or outdoor ministry appoints an energy steward to be the point person in the program and to work with its property team to make changes. Over the first two years of the program, active congregations have reduced their energy use and related costs by 10 percent, on average.

To date, six participating congregations have qualified for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star certification as a house of worship and three have received the Energy Star label, showing their leadership in the area of energy conservation to their members and surrounding communities.

The Initiative is “an example for denominations and other faith-based groups who really want to make a difference in congregational cash-flow back to the ministry from energy costs and to preventing pollution that threatens human life and health,” says Jerry Lawson, national manager for the agency’s Energy Star program for congregations. “It is one of the few energy stewardship programs in the country that actually facilitates and documents concrete achievements in saving energy, saving money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The fee for each participating organization is just $120 per year to cover the online services, and scholarships are available if needed. Applications for the next June class are due by May 1. An informational conference call and webinar will be offered March 25 at 7:00 p.m. Central Time to introduce the program — contact Lutherans Restoring Creation to receive instructions and participate online.

To learn more about the Energy Stewards Initiative and to apply as a congregation or outdoor ministry, visit the website of Lutherans Restoring Creation.

Lutherans Restoring Creation is a grassroots organization founded in 2009 and is devoted to working with the ELCA to promote care for creation in its institutions and organizations — congregations, seminaries, colleges, synods and outdoor ministries.

You might also want to read:
The Season of Creation
A small seed grows into a movement
Tracking our carbon footprint

Current Stories