Green Churches: Building Blocks for a Green Church
Below are very Simple Steps that Churches Can Take NOW to be good stewards of God's Creation. These ideas and suggestions cover topics from saving energy and water to holding Creations Friendly worship and education!
Energy - Identify low and no cost ways to save on your congregations energy bills. Get step by step instructions to help your congregation get an energy audit and purchase and install CFL's, LED exit signs and occupancy sensors!
- Read your meter every day to know how much you are using
- Click here to Learn how to read your meter
- Buy Offset Carbon Emissions or Purchase Green Energy
- Purchase efficient replacements for all electronics, big or small
- Heating and Cooling
- Control Direct Sunlight through Windows to reduce heating and cooling costs
- Install setback thermostats that automatically reduce heating and cooling when areas are unoccupied
- Reduce temperature of hot water. For normal hot water usage, hot water should be 54ºC (130ºF) and turn off water heaters that aren’t used in the summer and drain the tank
- Clean filters on furnaces and air conditioners and replace them when needed
- Turn off furnace or boilers that have a standing gas pilot in the spring when the heating season ends. Natural gas pilots use as much as $5 to $10 worth of gas a month.
- Weatherize the Church - Insulate accessible attics, uninsulated /unfinished walls, basements and crawlspaces, hot water pipes and tanks.
- Installing occupancy sensors for lights and replace Incandescent Light Bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL's) and using LED lights in exit signs helps to reduce energy costs.
- Reduce the operating time of your lights: Turn them off when not in use and utilize available natural lighting.
- Use Task lighting in church offices (lighting a desk rather than a whole room)
- Make sure the outdoor light timers are adjusted for daylight savings time
- Keep refrigerators and freezers at their ideal temperature. The ideal temperature for refrigerators is 3ºC (37ºF). If the temperature is lower, turn it up. The ideal temperature for freezers is -18ºC (0ºF). If the temperature is lower, turn it up.
- Keep freezers full. It is easier to keep a full freezer at the correct temperature than a partially empty one. Ice cream pails full of water can be kept in a freezer that is usually less than half full.
- Unplug any electronic device that is not in use.
Water Savings - Learn how to save water in and around your church.
- Install Faucet Aerators on sinks and install toilet retrofit devices that reduce the amount of water used per flush
- Schedule regular leak detection checks of all devices that use water
- Use sprinklers sparingly and only when needed. Early morning is the best time to water
- Install a rainwater collection system to use for landscape watering
- Landscape with water wise plants
- Install timers or moisture sensors to sprinklers or install a drip irrigation system instead of sprinklers
- Phase out the purchase of PVC building materials
- Repaint with low VOC paint when needed
- Build using sustainable products
- Start a community garden: Help excercise your congregation's green thumb!
- Schedule a building and grounds work day to remove exotics/ plant native plants.
- Considering sharing your worship space with another congregation (shared use / occupancy).
- Design new buildings to be energy efficient and save water.
- Buy non-toxic and phosphate free biodegradable cleaning products. Click here to download the FREE resource Cleanliness and Godliness: A Gathering Guide for Green Cleaning
- Click here for a Custodial and Building Supplies purchasing guide.
- Click here for a Kitchen Supply purchasing guide to help you congregation reduce waste from shared meals, and make healthy and just consumer choices.
Transportation - Discover fun ways to get to church without taking a toll on God's Creation.Churches across the country are putting the brakes on air pollution and climate change by encouraging members to bike or carpool to church. Join them!
Worship and Christian Education - Explore resources for worship and education for all ages!
- Celebrate Earth Day Sunday - Click here to download Earth Day Sunday resources for worship and education
- Hold a blessing for pets and all of God’s Creation.
- Sponsor a congregation wide environmental service day.
- Serve Fair Trade coffee (use local if available) and use Eco-Palms on Palm Sunday.
- Invest in environmentally friendly companies.
- Start a Waste Reduction Campaign for congregation members.
- Recycle - join a Terracycle recycling brigade to recycle coffee bags, candy wrappers, cell phones and more. Through this program you can also raise money for the charity of your choice. Click here to learn more.
- Compost - Consider maintaining an outdoor compost pile or an indoor compost bin to recycle your organic waste. Most households that start a compost can reduce waste by about one third!
- Use only durable/ reusable dishware (ask for donations from congregation).
- Donate leftover food from fellowship gatherings to homeless shelters or soup kitchens.
- Use donated hand towels in the bathrooms and kitchens instead of paper towels. Ask volunteers to wash weekly.
- Purchase Recycled Paper Products, soy based ink for church offices, kitchen and bathrooms.
- Participate in collective buying with other congregations in your area. This will make purchasing environmentally friendly goods more affordable.