Tools for Congregations
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Congregations Resources at ENERGY STAR estimates that if America’s 370,000 congregations cut energy use by just 20%, nearly $630 million per year would be saved that could then be applied to missions and other priorities. Cutting energy use would also provide more than 3.6 billion “new” kWh of electricity per year, without additional costs or pollution. These energy savings would prevent more than 2.6 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year — the equivalent of eliminating emissions from 480,000 cars or planting 60,000 trees every year!

Some great information on specific impacts on MN can be found at the Environmental Quality Board webpage.

The Energy Star Portfolio Manager is an online tool used to both measure and track energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

The Cool Congregations Challenge is the official Interfaith Power & Light’s annual national contest to recognize “Cool Congregations” that are becoming energy efficient and sustainable role models within their communities. There are both Planning Awards and Complete Project Awards. So no matter what stage you are in for a project, we can get you recognition.

EnerChange is a new partner with MNIPL; offering a FREE, Comprehensive, Energy Assessment within Excel and Centerpoint Energy territories to Congregations.

Have questions about energy projects? 
Looking at a lighting retrofit for your congregation? Then the One-Stop Lighting Efficiency Shop is a great place to start. A full-service lighting rebate program available to small businesses and Congregations in Xcel Energy's Minnesota service territory with an electric demand of 400 KW or less.

Some really good Resources, Tip Sheets and Stories can be found on this Energy Star Congregations Resources page.

Have questions about recycling?
Hennepin County offers grants, signage, technical assistance and case studies to help business and organizations start or improve recycling programs. Composting programs are included in these grants.

Have questions about gardening or rain gardens?
The Master Water Stewards are both a great resource for volunteers and implementing projects, and a great training opportunity for your faith community. The new Master Water Stewards program will certify and support community leaders to install pollution prevention projects that educate community members, reduce pollutants from urban runoff, and allow more water to soak into the ground before running into storm sewer systems. This program will be expanding to the whole Metro beginning the 2015-16 Class.

Metro Blooms is a private nonprofit volunteer-based educational organization, and provides Raingarden workshops for the public who are interested in installing their own! They provide fantastic workshops and seed exchanges throughout the metro area.

Composting is an easy way to reduce waste while improving your yard and garden soils. Yard trimmings and food scraps make up nearly 16% to 30% of waste produced by the average household. In Minnesota, 12% is food scraps and up to 18% is yard waste.

Have questions about solar energy?
CERTs provides updated fact sheets available for download and distribution. They also provide resources for learning the basics, get subscribers resources, see currently available programs, and FAQs.

MNIPL’s Solar Team has been working on how we can help faith communities invest in a way that helps to build an economically accessible and just future for renewable energy in MN.