Compliments on Our Work

Thanks so much for coming to the meeting. It was a great presentation and provided just the information that we needed.
Ron Avalino

Many thanks for your important ministry, which has helped many churches not only conserve energy, but be good stewards of God’s creation.
Geneva Butz

Thanks again for all your efforts in the audit. I was impressed by
your expertise, your integrity, and your generosity. Be well,
Jill McCracken

It is remarkable how clearly you both grasped and described our buildings. .
Liz Mellen

Andy Rudin is the true fountain of information on this subject and will be the most helpful to you I suspect. Andy has audited more than a thousand religious and non-profit facilities. I would highly recommend having him submit a proposal to do an Energy Cost Avoidance Survey of your facility. This typically costs more than the free NYSERDA energy audit and may cost a little more in your case given the extent of your facilities, but there is a considerable difference in what you will get, which is an easy to understand report, an analysis of your energy purchasing strategy and other things. My general experience is that he will find a number of cost avoidance measures available to you that the NYSERDA audit and ConEd survey will not, and that there is a better than 50% chance that these measures will pay for his cost within a year if implemented.
Michael Kriegh

Someone had signed us up with another energy company YEARS ago and we were paying a significant amount more, so I was able to cancel them. Thanks again for all of your help.
Regina Brady

Energy Guidelines for the Renovation and Construction of Religious Buildings

December 2004 (revised July 2011)

About this publication

The Interfaith Coalition on Energy has examined thousands of buildings belonging to religious congregations.  Some of them are new or recently renovated, and from these, we have learned many helpful ideas for those beginning the construction or renovation process.  This publication has several parts:

  • Part A discusses planning ahead to avoid mistakes

  • Part B is a narrative of several specific aspects of energy systems

  • Part C is a checklist

  • Part D is a list of questions to ask design professionals

Our thanks to the now defunct Nonprofit Energy Savings Investment Program for some of the following information.  We also included some information from our article in the October 1988 issue of Construction Specifier magazine.

Part A. Planning ahead to avoid mistakes

Congregations that serve their communities can feel compromised by owning and operating facilities that demand high payments for electricity and fuel.  More dollars for energy mean fewer dollars for service.  

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Buying deregulated electricity or gas – What a Favorable Contract Could Be

Interfaith Coalition on Energy – November 9, 2013

When you buy electricity and/or natural gas from third party suppliers, you leave the protection of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. The only “protection” you have is the contract written by the suppliers in their own best interest. They are usually written in legal language in small print.

Here are some guidelines that you could follow:

In choosing a supplier:

  • There are hundreds of third party suppliers because that business is profitable, often very profitable.
  • Do not rely on utility or Public Utility Commission advice.
  • Buying from a vendor has risks, but so does staying with your local utility. One difference is that you have PUC protection with your local utility.
  • Vendors may refer to your local utility website’s estimates of future prices. These estimates are likely false. Utilities typically revise their prices quarterly.
  • Do not pay any attention to phone conversations, face-to-face conversations, or mailings. The only thing that matters is the final contract with firm fixed pricing.
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The Positive Effect of Low Temperatures on Pipe Organs

by Andrew Rudin, ICE Project Coordinator, March 1986

The Interfaith Coalition on Energy (ICE) has found that local organ repair people and organ tuners have not provided the religious community with consistent advice concerning the relationship of patterns of heating to the well-being of the pipe organs. The purpose of this report is to clarify this confusion.

Expert confusion

We know that some organ experts suggest continuously heating houses of worship with pipe organs, at a cost of thousands of dollars per year, in order to “protect the pipe organ.” We know of other experts who suggest that the temperatures can be set very low when the buildings are not occupied, without causing damage to the pipe organ.

During the summer of 1985, we received a copy of a brochure written by the Federation of Master Organ Builders in Britain. The brochure clearly stated that the major problems with British pipe organs resulted from heating, rather than from cool temperatures.

The Interfaith Coalition on Energy summarized the brochure in a three-paragraph statement. On December 3, 1985, ICE wrote letters to each of twenty-two members of the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America (APOBA) to attempt to reach a consensus on the relationship of low temperatures to pipe organs.

We asked that they respond with their opinion about the three paragraphs about the effect of heat on pipe organs, which summarized the British brochure. We also enclosed a copy of the British brochure with our letter to the American organ builders.

Their responses form the basis of this article. On January 13, 1986 we sent each member a draft of this article for their final approval, resulting in a few additional minor changes.

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Lessons From Inspired Partnerships Stewardship Program


Information Series NO. 60, 1992

NOTE: This is a 16 page article, To read the FULL VERSION please click on the link below
(Opens in a new window, 6.1 Meg PDF File)


This technical booklet is the second in a series developed by Inspired Partnerships and co-published with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to address building issues facing traditional houses of worship. It is a summary of the author, Andrew Rudin’s, experience with four programs: Inspired Partnerships in Chicago and Interfaith Coalition on Energy (ICE) prograims in Philadelphia, Buffalo, and Arizona. Actual data from numerous buildings were analyzed to determine the causes of measured reductions in energy use.

Several companies and products are mentioned in this booklet. Mention of trade names does not constitute an endorsement by Inspired Partnerships or the National Trust for Historic Preservation, nor does it signify approval of the product to the exclusion of comparable products or companies.

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Some Advice Concerning Wireless Communication Antennas In Steeples

October 1997
The Interfaith Coalition on Energy

Introduction :

To many people, wireless communication towers are so ugly that they don’t want them visibly installed in their neighborhoods. Wireless communication antenna companies consider properly—located steeples as an alternative. If they select your steeple, either for their own needs and/or because your congregation desires additional income, your lawyer can use the following advice and sample lease documents to help draft an agreement more in your economic interest.

The contractual agreements often have two parts to them. The first is some up—front payment, and the other is a lease with monthly payments. A church near Boston made a deal with one antenna company to re-paint its steeple (a $12,000 value) plus $1,200 per month for 20 years. They negotiated a second deal with another cellular service supplier for $20,000 in parking lot repayement with $1,500 per month for twenty years. Another church in nearby Providence negotiated a $300,000 up—front payment and a $1,500 per month lease.

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Let’s Make a Deal and lower our church energy bills

Creation Care – Summer 1998

Electric meters are as prominent in churches as pulpits — usually one per facility.  Understanding sermons, however, may be easier than understanding electric meters.  Pulpits are located in sacred space — well-cared-for rooms with colors and cleanliness. Meters are usually located in profane space amid dirt, dust and dim light.

Electric meters are the cash registers for electric utilities.  Each month, the utility usually reads your electric meter, which belongs to them, and then sends you a bill.  Personally, I can’t wait for them to read my meter only once a month; I read it each morning keeping score of the amount of electricity, measured in kilowatthours, we used the day before.

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Comparison of Conventional and Infrared Heating Systems

April 1987

The manufacturers of gas-fired, unvented, ceramic panel infrared  heaters advertise that fuel costs are 20% to 50% less with their systems in comparison with forced air heating systems.  Several churches in the Philadelphia area have installed these systems.

The manufacturers claim that their infrared heaters do not heat the air, as other heaters do, but rather they directly heat objects and people, similar to the sun’s heating the earth.  They claim that the units provide equal comfort at lower thermostat settings, that there is less air movement and associated dust, and that there is less stratification of air in the heated space.

Energy comparison

We compared the heating energy consumption data from four church sanctuaries and one multi-purpose room to similar buildings in our database. The following are the BTU’s per square foot per year for the five buildings heated with unvented, gas-fired heaters mounted high on the walls:

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