Many houses of worship can relate to conversations of saving money leading to conversations about implementing sustainability measures (because yes, sustainability measures do save money!). Pastor Dinah Haag at First Congregational Church of Frankfort is often involved with details of how to lower the church’s expenses– so looking closely at the building’s energy usage has become a natural consideration in implementing cost and energy reducing strategies.
The congregation became a member of Michigan IPL largely to better learn about and utilize tools for energy efficiency. An energy audit was done, and many practices were immediately put into place, including putting up curtains on drafty doors in cold months and turning down the water heater in between large events.
Larger, more expensive investments have also been made, including insulating the sanctuary, which was found to not have much insulation in the walls or ceilings. The insulation project cost $3,000-4,000, but there has been a marked decrease in winter energy bills—First Congregational Church saves ~$900 every month! These monetary savings have been allotted to various funds and used for a variety of other improvements.
Pastor Haag has a vision of increasing energy efficiency and money saving measures with installation of church rooftop solar panels. First Congregation is located in a main residential area of historic Frankfort; Pastor Haag believes visible solar panels will not only save money in the long term, they will also make a positive statement to onlookers about the importance the church places on energy sustainability.