MEMPHIS, Tenn., April 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Many churches have found that taking a leadership role on environmental stewardship fits squarely into their existing role of fulfilling the Great Commission. What has been dubbed "greening your congregation," really means nothing more than making a concerted effort to lessen your negative impact on God's beautiful creation, leaving you free to focus on the Good News. Not only is going green important for sustainability reasons, but it will help your church's finances be put to better use. Here are five ways you can introduce sustainability to your church:
- Assessment. Call your local energy company or hire an energy auditor to assess your church's energy usage. Assessing your church's current impact is important because it will allow you to acknowledge those areas in which your church already complies with standards of sustainability, and helps you identify steps for improvement. Assess you building's energy consumption, water usage, and waste. In this assessment process, keep in mind that government and utility rebates for energy efficient improvements that are available to individuals and businesses are absolutely available to churches as well. Also, there are energy management software solutions (http://www.energycap.com) available to specifically monitor energy bills to make sure they are accurate.
- HVAC. The Goliath of energy usage, your church's heating and cooling system, has the potential to offer the most in savings of energy, money, and time. Keeping your sanctuary a comfortable temperature year-round can be a real challenge, and the various activities and events your building hosts can be complicated to manage. ServiceU offers an impressive solution that makes it possible for churches to integrate their heating and cooling system with their online events calendar. EventU Green (http://www.eventugreen.com) can be used to program your building's existing HVAC system to coincide with your scheduled events and services. Read more about EventU Green, as well as scheduling tips to help reduce energy costs here.
- Lighting. Compact Florescent Bulbs (CFLs) last about 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, and offer 75% in energy savings. During your assessment process, take note of all the fixtures with old bulbs and replace them as soon as possible. Replace your old T12 fluorescent tubes with more efficient T8 ones. For bathrooms, kitchens, office spaces and meeting rooms, install occupancy sensors on the light switches so lights don't accidentally get left on when no one is there.
- Appliances. The U.S. Environmental Protection's Energy Star program identifies appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, ovens and stoves that use as much as 30% less energy as their standard counterparts. Visit the Energy Star website to find a list of appliances to include in your church. Replacing old appliances goes hand in hand with water savings as well. Most newer appliances use less water; this coupled with other water savings tools, such as installing low-flow toilets or "toilet jams" as well as installing aerators on faucets, can help cut down on overall waste.
- Reduce Waste. The key to reducing waste is the old triangle, "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." Consider putting your new Energy Star dishwasher to use by using reusable cups for coffee and juice. Those plastic bottles of water take a staggering amount of energy and oil to produce, and surprisingly cannot be recycled into food grade materials. Encourage staff members to bring their own, reusable water bottles, and offer congregants filtered tap water instead. If using paper goods is a must, consider biodegradable compostable paper plates, bowls, and cups that can be ordered in bulk online.
During your assessment process, take note of paper usage for handouts, church bulletins, and notices. Could some of those be eliminated by directing people to your online calendar? EventU (http://www.eventu.com) is a great solution for managing your facility and church calendar.
Remember that your members' monetary contribution to their congregations is a blessing, and should be wisely spent. By saving money on heating, cooling, and lighting costs, your members can feel confident that their donations are being used in the most efficient ways possible, and not floating out a poorly insulated window.
About ServiceU Corporation
Since 1999, ServiceU Corporation has been the trusted solution for providing software that helps churches, schools and nonprofits simplify and automate administrative processes by moving them online. ServiceU's core product line includes: EventU™ for event, resource, and facility management through Web-based calendar scheduling software; EventU Green™ is an add-on to EventU that automates facility heating and cooling (HVAC) online based on a facility's events schedule; TransactU™ is the one solution for secure online donation, payment, and event registration tools from an organization's website, via mobile devices, and kiosks; TicketU™ provides online ticket sales, box office management, and theater software.
SOURCE ServiceU Corporation