Kate Poirier at Michigan Interfaith Power & Light
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  • published A Lighter, Brighter Portage UCC in Blog 2023-03-23 13:12:56 -0400

    A Lighter, Brighter Portage UCC

    With funds from Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Michigan IPL offered a $500 gift to 3 houses of worship participating in our Energy Stewardship Webinar series.

    Portage United Church of Christ (UCC) put this gift to work by replacing older, fluorescent tube lighting with bright, highly efficient LEDs! 

    The Rev. Dr. Mary Kay Schueneman enjoys her brightly lit office at Portage UCC.

    “I am so happy to have these new, bright LED lights in my office!  The previous lights had a yellow overcast that really dimmed the room; these have lightened my workspace. I’m also thankful that our congregation can be a part of faith communities’ efforts to care for our planet home. This is a small step, but a faithful one, and we hope it will continue us on our way.” – Rev. Dr. Mary Kay Schueneman

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  • published 750 Reasons to Celebrate at Little Eden in Blog 2022-10-11 09:25:49 -0400

    750 Reasons to Celebrate at Little Eden

    Joel Faber, Little Eden Facilities Manager, holds a new LED on the porch of one of the campground's cabins.

    With 10 utility bills coming in every month, the operating costs of Little Eden Camp, located on the shores of Portage Lake in Onekama MI were astronomical. Currently covering 45 acres, this historic camp began in 1944 with a small group of men from Ohio stepping out in faith to purchase the then 10-acre property. Since that time, Little Eden’s footprint has grown, and the camp’s utility demands have grown along with it. Today there are over 45 structures at Little Eden; four of these are over 100 years old.

    Visitors to Little Eden can easily see the reason for the name, but unlike its namesake, this Eden requires a great deal of effort to maintain and flourish. Creation care is at the heart of camp operations. Over the years, the staff has been very intentional at taking cost-effective measures to make Little Eden more energy efficient whenever the opportunity arose, however operating costs remained high.

    Camp Director Wayne Faber learned about rebates for lighting through an email he had received from Michigan IPL, which provided the inspiration to proceed with the more substantial project of retrofitting 4 ft fluorescent tube lighting with T-LEDs.

    A small army of volunteers worked together to retrofit the fixtures and install high-efficiency LEDs purchased through the Consumers Energy Instant Discount program.

    The result? The camp's lights are brighter and eighty percent (80%) of project cost was covered by the rebates, and the camp's utilities bills reflect the difference. As great as that was, Little Eden was just getting started.

    “Our desire is to continue to care for God’s Creation by being better stewards with our electricity consumption, reducing our impact on our world and in turn, saving the camp money on utility bills.”

    - Wayne Faber, Camp Director

    When the opportunity for a free Energy Assessment with a Consumers Energy Assessor came up, Wayne was glad to participate. The assessment involved a walkthrough of the entire property and free replacement of over 750 incandescent bulbs with 9-watt LEDs. Without the need to cover the purchase cost of these bulbs, it’s easy to see that Little Eden saved over $3,000 on just the bulbs alone.


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  • published Charging forward with EV in Blog 2022-09-20 09:43:56 -0400

    Charging Forward with EV Stations

    We wanted a visible sign of our commitment to addressing climate change, as well as to be able to play an active role in educating our community about the benefits of technology in addressing climate issues. -Steve Bertman, member of Temple B'nai Israel in Kalamazoo

    As the Detroit Auto Show is in full swing, Electric Vehicles are more and more at the forefront, showing us that the transition to EVs is also in full swing. With the tax credits included in the Inflation Reduction Act that offer Americans incentives to purchase new and used electric vehicles, it seems rather clear that Electric Vehicles are not only here to stay, but are beginning to make a major impact on the automotive industry, and hopefully, less impact on the climate.

    Jennifer Odza, a member of Temple B'nai Israel (TBI) in Kalamazoo, charges her electric vehicle while at the synagogue.

    And while a lack of charging stations has been one barrier to the expansion of electric vehicles here in Michigan, we are thankful to share that that does not need to be the case for much longer.

    Houses of worship in Michigan are encouraged to investigate the option of an EV charging station for their own locations. The purchase and installation of a charging station was shown to be very achievable through the inspiring work of Temple B’nai Israel in Kalamazoo, recipients of a Cool Congregations award earlier this year. Steve Bertman, professor in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at Western Michigan University, has paved the way for us to follow, through his experience at Temple B’nai Israel in Kalamazoo.

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