SCIPL’s Congregational Energy Efficiency Challenge Program began in 2018 to help churches reduce their environmental impact and become more energy efficient. Congregations who enter into the CEEC become eligible to receive grant funding for their environmental initiatives. The (CEEC) engages and educates congregations on earth care and the positive impacts of energy efficiency and other climate actions with a special emphasis on those in underserved communities.
Our CEEC program helps to reduce congregations’ financial burdens by promoting and helping fund positive, energy-efficient and environmental changes. These changes free communities of faith to allocate more resources to direct services and advocacy for policies that support vulnerable people throughout the state. Participating congregations complete an energy audit and consultation with SCIPL leaders to develop a plan for increased energy efficiency in their facility. SCIPL works alongside congregations to provide technical coordination and educational outreach. Past congregational inititiatives included:
- Retrofitting lights and replacing outdated lightbulbs
- HVAC upgrades
- Weatherization and insulation
- Window films
- Solar panels
Since launching the program in 2018, seven houses of worship have completed energy efficiency upgrades resulting in a projected lifetime savings of over $500,000 and 2.5 million kWh!
**New deadline! Still time to apply!
December 16, 2019 – Deadline for applications
January 15, 2020 – Winners Announced
June 1, 2020 – All work completed, receipts and reports submitted
In 2018, Gethsemane Baptist Church in Greenville replaced more than 370 light bulbs with LEDs, air sealed the building envelope, installed motion switches in bathrooms, and installed Nest programmable thermostats, for a total cost of $2,900 with $2,000 reimbursed. Village Church in Greenville replaced 53 windows with energy efficient models at a total cost of $26,411 with $3,000 reimbursed. Village Church had very old dilapidated windows, with some panes broken out and air sealing problems around them.
In 2019, Forest Lake Presbyterian Church in Columbia purchased and installed LED bulbs in their sanctuary, narthex and in other locations throughout the church. St. Thaddeus Episcopal in Aiken changed 768 lamps to LED light bulbs in their church building, which is also used as a school. At Trinity Worldwide Ministries in Charleston, we partnered with The Sustainability Institute who performed assessments of three buildings and identified and addressed simple safety and energy efficiency upgrades in all buildings including air sealing, insulation, smoke/carbon dioxide detectors and replacement of current conventional light bulbs with LED’s.
All of the participating congregations chose to sign onto SCIPL’s Creation Care Covenant, which includes numerous pledges to improve environmental stewardship, including the creation of “green teams,” the incorporation of environmental education in education programs and worship, maintaining vegetable gardens, using efficient transportation, and utilizing environmentally friendly purchasing and disposal practices in food and office supplies.
Faith leader, Sharilyn B. Robinson of Trinity Worldwide Outreach Ministries said, “The work that was done at our ministry has been very impactful. The biggest and most important being a reduction in the energy bills. Since the completion of the work, we’ve seen one bill reduced about 54% and the other about 63%. With these savings we are able to increase spending in activities geared towards the community,”
As hoped, another side benefit was engagement of congregants. Pastor Duncan, Senior Minister at Gethsemane, states, “Going Green has really inspired some of our church members who are now becoming more conscious and considering making changes in their homes.”