Rev Pat Watkins speaks at White House on creation care.

Recently Rev. Pat Watkins (husband of our Senior Pastor, Denise Honeycutt) spoke at the White House on behalf of the EPA.

September 13, 2012 (Washington, D.C.)- Today, Rev. Pat Watkins joined many other leaders from the nation’s faith community and the White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in a conversation at the White House about boosting the energy efficiency of the nation’s houses of worship. Watkins spoke on a panel and represented general Christian theology as well as specific United Methodist understandings of stewardship as well as the specific things Caretakers of God’s Creation is doing to empower United Methodist congregations to practice care of creation.

According to EPA, if America’s more than 370,000 houses of worship cut energy use by 20 percent, collectively they would save nearly $630 million, cut electricity use by more than 3.6 billion kilowatt hours, and prevent more than 2.6 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the emissions from about 480,000 cars.

The White House issued a “Call to Action” which encourages houses of worship to measure and track their energy use with EPA’s Portfolio Manager tool. After establishing an initial baseline in the tool, houses of worship which improve their energy efficiency by 20 percent or more will be specially recognized by the White House. Any house of worship which then earns a 75 or higher on EPA’s 1-100 energy performance scale, indicating that the building performs better than at least 75% of similar buildings nationwide, will be eligible to earn EPA’s ENERGY STAR. 

At today’s Greening America’s Congregations through Energy Efficiency Conference, the White House issued a Call to Action to increase participation in the ENERGY STAR program by houses of worship. Faith leaders were invited to share strategies for improving energy efficiency, discuss the role of environmental stewardship in their faith traditions, and learn about the free tools available through ENERGY STAR. Participants included representatives from the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, United Methodist Caretakers of God’s Creation, Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, the Evangelical Environmental Network, and Presbyterian Church USA, among others.

“Our nation’s faith community has a key role to play in protecting our environment through energy efficiency,” said Jean Lupinacci, Chief of EPA’s ENERGY STAR Commercial and Industrial Program. “It’s typical for houses of worship to cut their energy use by 30 percent by working with the ENERGY STAR program.”

ENERGY STAR was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 65 different kinds of products as well as new homes and commercial and industrial buildings that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the EPA. This year, EPA is proud to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ENERGY STAR program. For two decades, ENERGY STAR has helped millions of Americans and thousands of businesses save energy, save money, and protect the climate.

Over the past 20 years, American families and businesses have saved a total of nearly $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions with help from ENERGY STAR.

For more information about the ENERGY STAR program for commercial buildings, which includes houses of worship:

[via Caretakers of God’s Creation Facebook Page]

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