December 14, 2012
Contact: MIke Oles

Six Indiana Congregations Awarded Funds to Install Solar Panels

Seeking to Cut Energy Use by 25 – 40 Percent, Inspire Others to Follow

INDIANAPOLIS— Six Indiana congregations will install solar panels and plan to reduce their energy use by 25 to 40 percent under a $150,000 grant awarded by the Indiana Office of Energy Development, Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light (H-IPL) announced today.

The six congregations in Bloomington and Indianapolis will also engage a third of their members to reduce their household energy use by one seventh (14 percent) under H-IPL’s Seventh Day Initiative, which is based upon the Judeo-Christian call to use the seventh day as a day of rest – a day to conserve energy.

H-IPL’s application was one of only 5 projects funded from among 58 applications for OED’s Community Conservation Challenge grants, a federally funded program that promotes energy efficiency, renewable energy and alternative fuel vehicle retrofit programs. “Energy efficiency is paramount for homeowners, businesses and communities,” said Lt. Governor
Skillman. Projects like H-IPL are innovative and creative and they’ll provide tangible energy savings for Hoosiers.”

The six congregations that will install solar panels and participate in the Seventh Day Initiative are:

• Congregation Beth Shalom, Bloomington,
• Englewood Christian Church, Indianapolis,
• St. Thomas Lutheran Church, Bloomington,
• Trinity Episcopal Church, Bloomington,
• Unitarian Universalist Church, Bloomington, and
• Unitarian Universalist Church, Indianapolis.

“Each of our faith traditions has issued an urgent call to act on behalf of God’s creation, the poor, and future generations. Our efforts to conserve energy have tremendous potential to help us avert a climate catastrophe. When congregations from a number of faith traditions all cut their energy use significantly, they help us all see what is possible. We can do this together—now.”

Each of these congregations had already taken steps to reduce energy use and encourage conservation among their members. In three congregations, more than a third of members already ave taken actions to cut home energy use by at least a seventh. The congregations also have already cut their own natural gas use by 39 percent, on average, and electricity use by 18 percent.

As part of a commitment under the grant, H-IPL and its partners will offer a series of Using Energy Prudently workshops in 10 locations throughout Indiana, beginning in the Fall of 2013. Workshop hosts will include the Oldenburg Franciscan Center in southern Indiana, the Mennonite Merry Lea Environmental Center near Albion in northern Indiana and many others throughout the state. The U.S. Green Building Council’s south central Indiana chapter will help H-IPL design these workshops
for lay leaders, with a goal of reaching leaders of least 225 congregations with 27,000 members throughout the state. Other project partners include the Southern Indiana Renewable Energy Network (SIREN).

Through the workshops, H-IPL’s goal is to help congregations throughout the state reduce their  energy use and support their members as they do the same. Congregations that participate in the workshops will be eligible for a discounted energy audit by the firm Goals2Green and free energy assessments for their members.

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Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light, an affiliate of the national Interfaith Power and Light, seeks to inspire and equip Hoosiers of faith to respond to climate change. Its mission is to “call together  Hoosiers of faith as stewards of creation in order to promote energy conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy and related sustainable practices.”