Santa Barbara, CA – ECOFaith has issued an innovative challenge to Santa Barbara County faith communities to participate in the ECOFaith 2014 Energy Challenge. The objective is to reward and recognize the congregation most successful in decreasing its carbon footprint in 2014, based on electricity and natural gas usage. The carbon footprint for 2014 will be compared with the carbon footprint for 2013, and the congregation with the highest percent decrease will be selected as the winner of the award. The challenge will be open for congregational enrollment through September 30, 2014, and the winner will be announced at the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival in 2015.
As an interfaith coalition representing several religious traditions who believe in a moral responsibility to live in harmony with Earth’s natural systems and eliminate human-related causes of climate change, ECOFaith helps congregations take concrete steps to reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprint in houses of worship, homes, and workplaces. As such, ECOFaith has developed a “Path of Sustainability” which is available to all faith communities as well as the spiritually independent.
To incentivize participation, Allen Energy is offering free, on-site energy audits for houses of worship to help them prioritize steps to minimize energy use and offset their carbon footprint. Allen Energy will also host a free educational event on whole house efficiency for the members of congregations. If a member chooses to upgrade their home, Allen Energy will provide a $1 donation to the church for every 10 lbs. of carbon dioxide annually offset through an Allen Energy upgrade.
Additionally, ECOFaith is partnering with an investor and a solar power installer to pilot a financing method for one small to medium-sized church. The financing method is based upon an innovative approach already proven by InterFaith Power and Light and provides a way for the house of worship to derive benefit from the federal (for-profit) tax credit. It also provides a levelized payment for electricity over 10-20 years, thus avoiding the escalating costs of electricity bills (roughly 5% per year in this area).
Ivor John, chair of the ECOFaith leadership group says “This is an exciting time for ECOFaith and our participating congregations as we strengthen our community partnerships in ways that provide more cost-effective ways for implementing energy and carbon reduction programs that will also save money. We hope congregations will see this challenge as an opportunity to work with ECOFaith in an ongoing effort to address the climate crisis through collective action in our places worship here in Santa Barbara.”
ECOFaith is a program of the Interfaith Initiative of Santa Barbara County, a group concerned for the welfare of our region’s human and ecological habitats and their associated safety net challenges.
For more information about the ECOFaith 2014 Energy Challenge, please reach Penny Sidoli at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805-687-0879.