SCIPL’s Congregational Energy Efficiency Challenge Program began in 2018 with a focus on serving lower income, vulnerable faith communities with grants for energy efficiency upgrades and weatherization.
**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
Projected lifetime savings from the upgrades completed at two churches in 2018 totaled $33,000 and 300,000 kWh. Projected savings for upgrades at three 2019 projects grew to $213,409 and 2,206,264 kWh!
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.”