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How big is your Carbon Footprint?

Do you wonder about how big is YOUR ‘carbon footprint'—how much your activities use oil and gas products in many ways? Here's one way to calculate it.

Take the quiz.

 

Renewable Energy in CT

To learn more about conserving and using renewable energy in Connecticut, check out this website:

CTcleanenergy.com

 

Where can I find information about being green?

Looking for a new home appliance? This website has good information about how to get the most energy efficient one—and where to put it to keep it working most efficiently!

www.consumerenergycenter.org

 

Do you want to go Green?

Wondering what’s the ‘greenest’ way to go on vacation? Do your laundry? Run your PC? Check out these links from the Sierra Club for more information:

Green Get away

Green Laundry

How green is your PC?

How Green is my Screen?

Green Bike Ride

Environmental Committee

Genesis 1:1: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Psalm 24:1: The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it, the world and all who dwell therein.

Psalm 104: An entire psalm about the majesty of creation!

Luke 10: 37: And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

We are strongly motivated by these verses of Scripture—they speak to us, they inspire us.  Some of us come to this environmental ministry because of long-ago parental teachings and memories, others come because of urgent need, today. Some of us are mystics, waxing eloquent about the wonders of God’s creation, while others of us are intensely practical, pushing activism.

Newcomers are always welcome! We meet once a month to talk and plan.

We currently focus our activities on Energy (promoting conservation and clean generation on a personal and parish basis, forestalling climate change), Communication of all kinds of environmental issues to our parish, and Creation Appreciation, so that we would remain aware of the majesty of Creation, both as inspiration and as comfort.

 

News from the Environmental Ministry

 

Clean and Green Sunday

We hold two “Clean and Green” Sundays a year, one in the spring (May/June), and one in October, around St. Francis’ day. On these Sundays, many parishioners make the commitment to come to church in the most “energy-efficient” way they could, by walking, biking, or carpooling.

We bought a bike rack for bike parking.

To see what concrete steps you can take, look at Many Small Steps from the Ecology Action Alliance to see what incentives Connecticut has for renewable energy, go to the State Incentive Database, and click on the "CT" bubble.

 

Other Activities

• We hold sales of “earth-friendly” goods, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs,  paper goods made from recycled paper products, and organic fair-trade coffee.

To shop all year round, visit the Interfaith Power and Light Online Store.

• We promote and attend Diocesan events, including a Connecticut River Eagle Watch Cruise and a canoe trip on the Farmington River.

To see more about Diocesan and Inter-religious Environmental Events, visit the Diocesan Earth Ministry  and the Inter-religious Eco-Justice Network.

• We hold parish walks and hikes locally, on our Rails-to-Trails path and in our parks.

• We hold parish field trips, such as going on a whale watch out of Gloucester, Massachusetts, to the Heifer Project in Massachusetts, and on the Project Oceanology boat on the Sound, out of Avery Point.

 

Congratulations to St. John's Episcopal Church in Vernon!

Interfaith Power and Light website.

CT Interfaith Power and Light is proud to announce that St. John's Episcopal Church in Vernon was selected as a 2011 Cool Congregations Challenge winner in the category of Energy Efficiency. The Cool Congregations Challenge, sponsored by Interfaith Power and Light, is a united effort by religious congregations across the country to address global warming by reducing their carbon footprint and becoming inspirations to their members and communities. On behalf of the Board, we want to congratulate the Green Team at St. John's, led by Letty Naigles. "We are so impressed - the category of energy efficiency was extremely competitive," said Director Terri Eickel. "Their victory really calls attention to their dedication and commitment to climate change." Eickel's enthusiasm was echoed by Naigles, who said, "We are so thrilled to see our collaborative efforts recognized and are already brainstorming about different projects." Congratulations!

Here's the winning essay:

Lighting at St. John's

Fall 2010:

About five years ago, the Environmental Ministry and the Facilities committee collaborated to change almost all the incandescent bulbs to CFLs. In early November 2010, Facilities got multiple setback electronic control thermostats installed, enabling five heating zones in the Parish House, at a cost of over $10,000. But that left 117 lighting fixtures (T-12s plus outdoor floods) still hanging in the Undercroft, the parish hall, the Sunday School rooms, the hallways, the offices, and outdoors! Individual bulbs and then entire ballasts began to fizzle. Could we get new lighting and decrease our carbon footprint at the same time?

Winter, 2011:

Facilities called multiple contractors for tours of the buildings, and solicited quotes. The best deal for F32T8s (28W) fluorescents (all with low energy electronic ballasts) plus XIG-CLP-3040s for outdoors, would cost us over $13,000. This parish was seriously in the red a couple of years ago, and is now just about breaking even. So the Vestry was somewhat nervous about such a large bill (especially on top of the thermostat costs)-and worried about the interest on any loan.

Then Environmental learned that Connecticut's IPL (Inter-Religious Eco-Justice Network) would be running their "This Old House of Worship" program, in which groups of congregations participate in a 6-week course on STEM (Savings through Energy Management). So Environmental told Facilities, and members of both committees attended the program. Especially important, we learned how to perform an energy audit, and to calculate the energy and cost savings that would accrue if the new lighting were installed!

March-April 2011:

Facilities was persistent, and negotiated to get an interest-free loan from our utility's (CL&P) Small Business Program. So -- could the church now swing $370/month for three years? Facilities called Environmental: The Vestry is going to vote soon. Environmental promised to pay the first month from their account, and contacted the ECW (Episcopal Church Women). The ECW promised to chip in as well. Environmental launched a campaign whereby parishioners would 'adopt' a lighting fixture, and pay for it either upfront or as part of their regular pledge. The Vestry took up the commitment to be good stewards of God's creation, and voted to approve!

June 2011:

All 117 fixtures were installed in 2 days. Eight parishioners and groups immediately signed up to adopt a fixture.

September, 2011:

Our treasurer reported that our electricity usage since the upgrade decreased by 1,328 Kwh, or 22%, over the same period in 2010! Hooray, we are on track to decrease our CO2 emissions by 5 tons per year! Also, because of the new thermostats, our natural gas usage has decreased by 15%, or about 1000 CCF over the past year. AND, over half of the lighting costs have now been covered by Creation-loving parishioners!

What's up next? Expanding our community organic garden from one bed to two, and installing lighted exit and emergency exit signs. Long-term ideas are for window blinds for the lower parish house hall. We feel we are on a roll!

There's still a balance due on these lighting costs, so if anyone else wants to contribute in any way, please see Claire Taylor or any member of the Environmental Ministry.

Many thanks to all of you for your wonderful support!

The next meeting of the Environmental Ministry will be on Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 11:30pm in the Undercroft.