Planning to build

Planning to build (or not to)?

The Interfaith Coalition on Energy has produced a few publications advising congregations about energy options in planning to renovate or ad to existing buildings or build new ones.  In addition, the following is a review of five books from other sources, listed in our opinion of most important listed first:

1. Before building, do you know how the congregation feels about its future? The Church Planning Inventory from Hartford Seminary solicits 180 multiple-choice responses to either questions or statements.  By analyzing the results, a congregation can see the demographics of its memberships, its intent to stay or move on, satisfaction with programs, facilities and ministry – plus a lot more.  The Hartford Seminary will sell copies of the inventory at 40 cents each and analyze a returned set for $2.50 per tabulated questionnaire.  They also charge a one time administrative fee of $75.  To obtain a free copy of their inventory, you can write the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, 77 Sherman Street, Hartford, CT  06105.  Their phone is (860) 509-9543 and their email is mross@HARTSEM.EDU.  The Hartford Seminary also has inventories for pastoral search and parish profiles.

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What you need to know about your building

Early Spring, 2000

We think that members of congregation property committees ought to know certain facts about their buildings.

The following list is based on suggestions from several people who work regularly with religious congregations and the buildings they own.

  • Square feet of Floor area
  • Age of original construction
  • Dates of renovations and additions
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Lightning – An Act of God

Andrew Rudin — Interfaith Coalition on Energy — September 1992

A quick-moving storm passed over northeast Philadelphia in August 1991.  When lighting struck the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, no one was in the building.  A malfunctioning alarm system was the initial symptom that something was wrong.  The church security system had automatically dialed a list of numbers to say that the power was off.

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Stoplight Removal in Philadelphia

Andrew Rudin – March 1994
Comfort and Light Newsletter #53

Philadelphia drivers have two driving habits that work at cross-purposes — jump starting red lights as they turn green and running the yellow ones before they turn red.  The City Department of Streets had an idea to increase safety and save energy costs at the same time — replace the traffic lights with all-way stop signs at moderate traffic intersections.

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Oh! Say it Ain’t So…

Busting seven myths about churches and energy
By Andrew Rudin – Creation Care magazine – Fall 1997

The Interfaith Coalition on Energy has been around since 1980.  After 66 newsletters, 200 workshops, a zillion phone conversations and gobs of correspondence some old myths seem to remain intact.  So, let’s take another look at them….

Myth 1. Churches waste a lot of energy — It may feel that way, but we use about 7% more energy per square foot than the average home, less than a third of the energy used by health care and food service institutions, two-thirds of what offices use, and a fifth more than warehouses.  And we provide more beneficial services to neighborhoods than any of those institutions!

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Solar Electricity and Our Doorbell

Green Cross Magazine
April 1997

My wife, Joyce, and I consume as few as four kilowatt-hours per day, which is pretty good in comparison to the national average of 27-plus per day. Our average for last year was just over 7.  And no, we haven’t thrown the TV out, we don’t keep the house at 50 degrees in the winter, and we love our tropical fish aquarium.

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Websites of Friends of ICE
A Religious Response to Global Warming
The mission of Interfaith Power & Light is to be faithful stewards of Creation by responding to global warming through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. This campaign intends to protect the earth’s ecosystems, safeguard the health of all Creation, and ensure sufficient, sustainable energy for all.

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Your Current Third Party Electric and Natural Gas Suppliers

Third Party Electric and Natural Gas Suppliers Are Likely to be More Expensive Than Your Local Utility in the Long Run
We learned from a previous program that congregations generally do not examine their invoices to determine if they are being billed according to the least expensive electric and gas prices.  

During deregulation, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission forced electric utilities to randomly make a number of their customers purchase electricity from other suppliers.  It is called the MST program, for Market Share Threshold.  As of As of October 1st, there were 19,681 PECO Energy small commercial customers in this program today because they did not choose to return to PECO, down from 62,000 in 2004.  At the time MST was ordered, the cost of electricity for the first year may have been lower from some suppliers compared to PECO prices, but that changed.  Those suppliers are now charging as much as three times as much as PECO would charge.

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