Sacred Spaces: Bringing $1.1 million in energy efficiency improvements to 11 Michigan Congregations - Michigan Interfaith Power & Light

Sacred Spaces: $1.1 million in energy efficiency improvements, 11 Congregations!

Michigan IPL to bring $1.1 million in energy efficiency improvements to 11 low-income congregations!  

The Sacred Spaces initiative is made possible by funds from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and World Renew. We are excited to be working with EcoWorks Detroit as our technical partner.  

Even as we've seen a growing number of Michigan congregations install solar and take meaningful steps to be better stewards of Earth by reducing their energy waste, it's clear that many more communities need dollars and support to make these improvements. 

At Michigan IPL, we believe that our best hope for a livable future and a stable climate is to ensure that the benefits of clean, efficient energy are shared by ALL. That means our collective charge is to channel resources to those communities with the greatest need and with the fewest resources. 

Since congregations are on the frontlines of meeting the spiritual and material needs of their communities, we know that shoring up their financial and environmental sustainability will have payoffs far beyond the walls of each individual congregation. 

Our participants are eager to get started implementing $100K each in energy efficiency upgrades. Here's what a couple of them had to say: 


"This grant will be used towards supporting energy efficiency efforts at our church. It’s something that congregations such as ours, which are in a low-income area, are thankful for. The savings will allow us to do more for our community and seniors and expand our programming to meet the needs of the community."

-Pastor Millard Southern, III of Allen Chapel AME Church, Kalamazoo


"This grant enables us to be as innovative as we can. We see education and programming for both youth and adults as a key component of the project. This is an opportunity to educate our community on green practices and what that could mean in their communities."

-Steve Wasko, a program director at St. Suzanne Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic Parish, Detroit

The 11 participating congregations are: 

  • Greensky Hill Indian United Methodist Church, Charlevoix
  • Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Chassell
  • Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center, Detroit
  • Pilgrim Baptist Church, Detroit
  • New Mt. Hermon Baptist Church, Detroit
  • St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Detroit
  • St. Suzanne Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic Parish, Detroit
  • Asbury United Methodist Church, Flint
  • Trinity Reformed Church, Grand Rapids
  • Allen Chapel AME Church, Kalamazoo
  • St. Luke CME Church, Saginaw

The congregations were selected by a committee of folks from Michigan IPL, EGLE, World Renew, the Climate Witness Project, NAACP - Grand Rapids Chapter, and the Governor's office of Faith-based Affairs. This opportunity was available to congregations:

  • located in Michigan
  • with an annual budget under $250K
  • whose ministries serve their broader communities 
  • from any religious tradition

In addition, the committee sought to choose a slate of congregations that were located in different regions of Michigan, and that represented a diversity of racial identities. We prioritized those congregations located in communities that experience disproportionate environmental harm. 

Michigan contractors interested in receiving notification once Requests for Proposals are released are encouraged to fill out the Contractor Interest Form. We expect that this project will generate significant interest, and we (Michigan IPL, EcoWorks, participating congregations) do not have the capacity to respond to individual contractor inquiries

No additional funds are available at this time, but if your congregation is interested in learning more about making energy improvements in your own facility, please reach out to me: Jennifer Young, Energy Programs Manager, at (248) 463-8811 or [email protected].