September 2017


In this issue

  • Welcome to Our New Executive Director John Dane
  • Job Opening with Union of Concerned Scientists in Indiana
  • Interested in a Low-Emission Transportation Grant?
  • From the EPA: Energy Star Certification
  • Peacekeeping and Creation Care in Indiana's Mennonite Community
  • LED Lighting Retrofit
  • Supergreen Solutions
  • Upcoming Events:
    --Using Energy Prudently workshops in South Bend, Carmel
    --Climate Boot Camps in Fort Wayne, South Bend
    --Eco-Justice Field Trip
    --Solar Panel Forums in Indianapolis

Welcome to our new Executive Director John Dane

The board of Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light is pleased to announce the selection of John Dane as the new H-IPL Executive Director, effective September 1, 2017. John was most recently the Executive Director of the Sacramento-based California Resource Recovery Association, a trade association representing the state’s recycling industry, with five hundred municipal and corporate members. John's successful tenure at CRRA included enhanced climate-change driven legislative advocacy and regulatory participation. Prior to that he led the California State Firefighter's Association and, here in Indianapolis in the early 2000s, was executive director of the United States Rowing Association, selecting and managing a coaching staff whose teams won multiple Olympic medals.

John brings to H-IPL a long career of non-profit leadership experience and a deep and long-standing concern for the environment and passion to combat climate change. Now residing again in Indianapolis, he and his wife have reunited with the congregation of St. Luke's United Methodist Church. Under John's able leadership, we anticipate a season of growth and expansion of H-IPL's organization and mission.

Job Opening in Indiana: Union of Concerned Scientists
Now Hiring Part-Time Indiana Grassroots Organizer

Union Concerned Scientists LogoDo you love science? Can you mobilize people in Indiana to advocate for science-based policies that protect public health, clean air and water, and the climate? The Union of Concerned Scientists is seeking a committed and experienced part-time consultant to do grassroots organizing in Indiana. Work from home and around the state to recruit, train and mobilize a team of activists to defend science, and scientists, from the latest attacks in Congress and the Administration that threaten the well-being of communities and the environment. To see the complete announcement, including details and scope of the work, qualifications desired, and instructions for applying, go here.

Interested in a Low-Emission Transportation Grant?

LowEmissionGrants.pngDoes your congregation, religious organization, or parochial school own vehicles, perhaps vans or buses? Do you provide vehicles for your clergy? Would you be interested in replacing those vehicles, retrofitting them, or adding new technologies to make them more environmentally friendly while saving money on fuel and maintenance costs? Or are you interested in installing an electric vehicle charging station in your parking lot?

In partnership with South Shore Clean Cities, Hoosier IPL is gathering information to gauge interest for potential future grant opportunities and wants to hear from you! If interested, please contact Trisha Tull ( Tell us your vehicle make, models and years, and what you would find beneficial among the possibilities listed above.

From the EPA: ENERGY STAR Certification and Awards For H-IPL Energy Stewards Users with a Score of 75 or Higher

EnergyStarLogo.pngThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) offer ENERGY STAR certification to public buildings that are top performers in energy efficiency. Indiana congregations enrolled in Energy Stewards that have a verified ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher are eligible to apply. Here are more details about obtaining ENERGY STAR certification. If your congregation is set up in H-IPL Energy Stewards with an ENERGY STAR score that has been tracking at 75 or above, contact Warren Gaskill who will create your Portfolio Manager account to allow you to be certified.

Certification is given on an annual basis, so a building must maintain its high performance year to year. The information submitted in the certification application must be verified by a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) or Registered Architect (RA) to be eligible for approval. Here are tips for low-cost verifications. Here are ten reasons to apply for certification.

In addition, the EPA honors organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting the environment. All organizations participating in the ENERGY STAR program are encouraged to apply for a 2018 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award.

After working with Warren Gaskill to set up your Portfolio Manager account, submit your notification of intent to apply for the award to the EPA before September 29 here. Organizations must meet eligibility requirements and submit a completed online application package by 8 p.m. EST, December 4, 2017.

Winners will be recognized at the ENERGY STAR Awards Ceremony on May 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Applications, early notification instructions, and other important information about category changes are now available at For questions on Energy Stewards contact Trisha Tull or Warren Gaskill. For questions on the awards process, please email

Peacemaking and Creation Care: Indiana’s Mennonite Community

Hoosier IPL includes Indiana congregations and people from all faiths whose religious beliefs lead them to environmental efforts. You can find other stories of Indiana faith communities practicing creation care here on our website. This month our many Mennonite congregations are highlighted. 

MennoniteLogo.pngIt is quite possible that, despite their denomination’s relatively small size, more kilowatts of solar power are being generated by Mennonite churches than by any other faith group in Indiana. Most of these churches are clustered in the northeastern end of the state, especially in LaGrange and Elkhart counties, where Mennonites began settling in the 1840s.

Indiana’s Mennonites share an Anabaptist heritage with the Amish, though today only the most conservative Mennonite groups dress distinctively. Mennonites are characterized by simple living, deep community ties, and wide social conscience. They were early abolitionists. They have often been conscientious objectors during wars, and have a “remarkable commitment to helping those in need,” being among the first responders to natural disasters. In fact, they originated the Victim-Offender Reconciliation Movement in Elkhart, Indiana.

KernRoadPanels.pngHoosier IPL has had the privilege of working directly with Kern Road Mennonite Church in South Bend and the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart to help install solar panels, resulting in 25.9 and 59.4 kilowatt arrays respectively. Kern Road has become a H-IPL UEP Acclaimed Congregation as of this year, achieving significant energy conservation in the worship building and in members’ AMBSGarden.pnghomes, and AMBS is well on the way to doing the same. The seminary’s gold-standard LEED-certified library and six acres of restored native prairie and other gardens, as well as their annual Rooted and Grounded Conference, testify to the school’s seriousness about modeling creation care for students and community alike.

Several Goshen congregations aren’t waiting for help with solar. Benton Mennonite Church in the village of Benton outside of Goshen, installed their array in 2013 (see other photos from their dedication here). Three member families joined the church in going solar, installing home arrays when NIPSCO was offering a generous feed-in tariff. Benton’s copastor Brenda Hostetler Meyer and her husband Rich have both solar and wind power. 

The church’s other copastor, Doug Kaufman, explained that interest in creation care at Benton BentonMennonitePanels.pngChurch grew out of their practice of baptizing the faithful in the Elkhart River—and discovering that it was polluted with E. Coli and needed cleaning up. They continue to test the river’s water several times a year and to attend to other watershed issues. See their impressive story of creation care activities here.

Assembly Mennonite Church in Goshen likewise has a very active creation care team whose commitment for the past six years has been “to better understand our impact on God’s creation, and act, corporately and individually, to reduce the adverse effects of that impact.” Specifically, they participate in H-IPL initiatives such as Task of the Month and workshops, impose on themselves a voluntary gas tax, organize sermon series and retreats, promote carbon diets and less-meat groups, and hold an annual Blessing of the Bicycles, among many other things. They are now working on acquiring solar panels for their meetinghouse.

EighthStreetMennonitePanels.pngEighth Street Mennonite Church, also in Goshen, is currently installing an $89,504, 38.4 kilowatt system consisting of 120 panels. Built by Wellspring Renewable Energy, the array will supply 75% of the congregation’s electricity. Congregation members committed more than $61K to the project, and the remainder came from the church’s Living Memorials fund. The system will not be visible from the ground, limiting their day to day witness. But the church has other signposts: a community garden, allowing neighbors to grow vegetables, and their policy of opening the church to other groups for meetings. They have also converted their exterior lighting from sodium vapor to LED, reducing consumption for exterior lighting by 2/3.

The nudge to install solar panels came from a small group who composed a proposal letter to the board, and the concept was quickly embraced. For their annual Green Sunday last month, the church dedicated their solar panels, and the Rev. Janeen Bertsche Johnson, a church member who is also campus pastor at AMBS, and whose work has been central to the seminary’s efforts, preached on four texts focusing on the sun.

Waterford Mennonite Church, likewise in Goshen, sought out a conventional loan to install their 51.3 kilowatt system. A dozen church volunteers installed the system in two days. Total project cost, including tree trimming and landscaping, came to $85K, an amazing $1.65 per watt. The system was designed to provide 80% of the church’s needs, and payback is approximately 10 years, an easy sell for the congregation. 

But this isn’t their first venture into creation care. The Waterford Wetlands, an outdoor extension of the congregation’s sanctuary, is 55 acres of unspoiled natural areas and unique wildlife habitat developed when the church was built in the 1970s. Part of the Elkhart River floodplain, the wetlands serve a crucial role in the water cycle, cleansing and purifying the water and slowing water runoff.

Waterford’s Creation Care Ministry Team was founded in 2012 with Luke Gascho facilitating. Gascho is director of Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College in Wolf Lake,  and Goshen College professor of Sustainability and Environmental Education, and was also founding board chair of Hoosier IPL six years ago. In addition to utility conservation and the wetlands, the team has devoted itself to emphasizing creation care in both worship and education on all levels.

Bethany Christian Schools, which serves grades 4-12 in Goshen, was chosen as a 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School and honored in a ceremony in Washington D.C. in July. Bethany is among just 45 schools nationwide honored for achievement in three areas: “innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.”

BethanyEnvironmentalEducation.pngThe U.S. Department of Education commended Bethany for providing innovative environmental and sustainable education to its students, participating in sustainable practices such as recycling and composting, and being powered entirely on renewable energy, a portion supplied by the installation of solar panels and a wind turbine. Read an in-depth article here about the award and Bethany’s achievements in renewable energy, conservation, and sustainability education in the curriculum, promotion of health and wellness through outdoor education, and their Farm to School initiative, which has begun with a school garden and will eventuate in more and more of the cafeteria’s offerings being locally sourced.

BethanyChristianSchoolPanels.pngThe school’s 300 solar panels, installed in 2015 by Solar Energy Systems, supply 77 kilowatts of power. In addition they have a 3.6 kW wind turbine and a geothermal system. Between these and their conservation measures, Bethany generates 12%of its energy needs on campus, and purchases the rest from other wind and solar sources.

Many of these projects benefited from a web of connections. Like ripples in a pond, actions taken by one group affected others. Here is one example: The Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center was an early adopter of solar panels back in 2006 when it constructed a biological field station that was Indiana's first platinum-rated LEED® facility. Executive director Luke Gascho, who oversaw the project, then served as an informal consultant to many people in the area. He helped found not only H-IPL but the Mennonite Creation Care Network. This bi-national network is based in Goshen and encourages congregations to incorporate creation care into their ministries. All of the congregations mentioned are members of Mennonite Creation Care Network.

Beyond the several congregations and education institutions highlighted here, Mennonites from throughout the state partner with H-IPL in creation care efforts, from Paoli and Bloomington to Indianapolis, Kokomo, and Berne. Since voluntary simplicity, reverence for creation, and justice are built into the Mennonite DNA, active work to restore creation is simply a twenty-first-century outgrowth of their deeply rooted traditions. In the midst of all that our state has to contend with environmentally, one of our greatest blessings and resources is our Mennonite connection.

Read about an LED Retrofit Project…and Other Cool Stuff

CenterAtDonaldsonVer2.pngThe Center at Donaldson is an ecumenical, inter-generational living and learning center near Plymouth, IN, where people of all ages and faiths interact, share, learn and grow together. It is a collection of ministries founded by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, a group of women religious who established their American Province home here in 1922. They are grounded in Catholic social teaching and ecumenically welcoming to all.

AND they have a strong environmental ethic, with leadership from their Ecological Relationship Director, Adam Thada, who has been active with Hoosier IPL. Adam reports that they are currently working to install car charging stations, and are looking toward a solar installation next year.

In the meantime, he reports, “We are in the middle of a campus-wide lighting retrofit project.” You can read all about what they are doing here at Adam’s blog, Ecological Relationships. And check out the archives for more on the Center’s farming, wetland conservation, and animal husbandry.


SuperGreen Solutions

SuperGreenSolutionsGraphic.pngDean Charles at SuperGreen Solutions in Richmond, Indiana, attended a recent H-IPL webinar and wanted to tell Indiana congregations about their services and products. We’re passing the word along. Here is what they said:

SuperGreen Solutions is your one stop energy efficiency shop. We offer:

  • Free Energy Assessments
  • A full range of Green energy products
    • LEDs – Insulation – Window inserts – Refrigeration – HVAC – Water – Solar – Wind
    • Advice on claiming all the incentives that can save you thousands of dollars
    • Easy financing options

We will work with the congregational leadership to become more effective by training, consulting, and educating them about going green. 

We understand this is not a quick fix, but a journey. Each congregation requires a unique plan.  We can review and develop an individualized plan that satisfies each congregation’s goals.

Sometimes congregations avoid starting the journey, thinking it will cost too much. We have implemented “consignment” programs, placing bulbs on site that will be used as old bulbs burn out, paid for after all the bulbs are used. Once congregations get started and see the benefits, the next steps can be easier.

We have worked with several congregations and faith based schools in the Indianapolis area and are willing to work throughout the state. 

Contact Dean at SuperGreen at (765) 960-7913;

Upcoming Events

Using Energy Prudently Workshops in South Bend, Carmel

  • Saturday, Sept 9, 10 am - 3 pm at First United Methodist Church, South Bend
  • Sunday, Sept 17, 1 - 5 pm at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, Carmel

uep.jpgH-IPL’s Using Energy Prudently workshops equip congregations with the tools they need to greatly reduce energy use in houses of worship and save significant funds for other purposes. Gain practical information about sealing your building's envelope; maintaining and replacing HVAC equipment; using zoning and thermostats to slash energy waste; lighting technologies for various rooms; and detecting energy hogs in your building. With stories and step-by-step tools, we’ll show you how to cut your congregation’s energy use and get your congregation on board. You’ll have time to figure out what will work for you. You’ll get just what you need to put your learning into action.

Go here for more information, and register here. Participants may also register and pay at the door. Covers refreshments and a notebook of materials to take with you.

Climate Boot Camp in Fort Wayne, South Bend

  • Thursday, September 14, 9 am - 3:30 pm at Plymouth Congregational Church, Fort Wayne
  • Saturday, September 16, 9 am - 3:30 pm at St. Anthony de Padua Catholic Church, South Bend

climatebootcamp.jpgDay-long workshops for faith leaders and members, led by climate scientist Dr. Ben Brabson, environmental theologian Dr. Trisha Tull, and H-IPL board chair the Rev. Wyatt Watkins. They will discuss the scientific, theological, economic, and pastoral challenges and rewards of speaking out about climate change. We hope to help every Hoosier of faith to speak confidently and boldly about global warming and its impacts, and to encourage their communities to respond with vigor and hope.

Go here for more information, and register here. Immediately upon registration you will receive downloadable articles to read to prepare you for the day. Registration covers lunch, a folder of materials, and a two-hour support follow-up meeting three months later.

If your congregation or community would like to host a Climate Boot CampUsing Energy Prudently Workshop, or other H-IPL workshop, please contact Trisha Tull.

Moving Towards Eco Justice Field Trip

Friday, Sept 15 - Sunday, Sept 17

Attention college students and young adults!

Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light is coordinating a weekend-long excursion to southwest Indiana to explore issues of eco-justice and faith. Please see our flyer for details.

Solar Panel Forums

Harnessing the sunshine at your congregation or home is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint and free up financial resources to be redirected to energy conservation measures and other ministries in your faith community. Even if your congregation might not be ready for solar now, this is a great way to get an introduction and begin planning. Come and learn about the new solar panels and what it takes to install and finance solar power:

  • Saturday, September 16, 10 am-12 pm, All Souls Unitarian Church, 5805 East 56th Street, Indianapolis
  • Saturday, October 14, 10 am-12 pm, Eastgate Christian Church, 8100 E 16th St, Indianapolis

Free and open to the public. Ray Wilson, H-IPL’s Using Energy Prudently specialist, will lead and answer questions. 

Creation Care Conference: Earthkeeping 2017 on October 7 in Indianapolis

The Indiana United Methodist Alliance for Creation Care invites you to join with them in a special "Earthkeeping 2017" seminar on Saturday, October 7, at North United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. The event begins at 8:30 am and will conclude by 3:00 pm.

United Methodists and others are invited to think and pray together about our call to be good stewards of God's creation. Guest speakers include Rev. Katie Dawson (Lead Pastor, Immanuel UMC of Iowa Conference) Professor Tim Eberhart (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary) and Professor Tim Van Meter (Methodist Theological School in Ohio). Come and learn from compelling stories about what the United Methodist denomination and other congregations are doing.

Lunch is provided for a free will offering but it is important to register so organizers know how many to prepare for. You will note that the registration form includes some UM info that you can just ignore.


Check the H-IPL on-line calendar

Find future events in your area, including movies, lectures, and workshops.


Grassroots efforts to address climate change are more important than ever. Please consider a gift to help H-IPL continue to grow and build the movement to care for creation.

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