ECOFaith has developed and implementied a comprehensive program to help houses of faith assess energy consumption in their places of worship, to retrofit their buildings for energy efficiency, and to develop environmentally sustainable practices conserving energy using a faith-based perspective of caring for creation. This process is critical to transforming our economy and society as we work toward slowing the effects of climate change from global warming.
Global Warming and Buildings
There are urgent global and local needs to address climate change and conserve resources. Understanding that buildings are responsible for almost half (48%) of all greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) annually, there is growing consensus that the key to reducing greenhouse gases and reversing climate change is weatherizing and retrofitting the already-built environment from single-family homes to institutions like schools, churches and government buildings.
Stewardship of the Earth
To achieve the goal of slowing climate change and reducing our need for fossil fuel, houses of faith must play a major role, both by retrofitting their buildings for energy efficiency and by calling on their congregations to be better stewards of the environment.
While reducing pollution and ending global warming requires scientific and technological advances, such innovations alone will not be sufficient to stop the underlying causes of climate change. There will also need to be a profound shift in human behavior whereby people are deeply motivated to reduce their consumption and waste. The effect of one congregation increasing their sustainability efforts in energy conservation and other environmentally careful practices has a rippling effect throughout the entire outside community. One person, one congregation, one town. Seventy-eight percent of our population identifies itself as religious or spiritual. Since religion powerfully influences human behavior, were these institutions to turn their focus to caring for creation and reducing global warming, the possibilities for rapid and far-reaching social change are profound.
Four Pilot Projects
From 2009 to 2011 ECOFaith completed an initial pilot project of four faith communities to provide a working model. The four communities were the Holy Cross Catholic Church, Islamic Society of Santa Barbara, Grace Lutheran Church, and Second Baptist Church. Within the links on the upper left are descriptions of how these houses of faith surveyed their own sustainability practices, listed their needs, capabilities, and goals. And, most importantly, their achievements. ECOFaith invites you to read these what about these efforts and be inspired to develop your own congregation’s Green Team and get on The Path to Sustainability.