Energy Efficiency - Michigan Interfaith Power & Light

Energy Efficiency and Savings for Your Congregation

Don't wait to access energy savings and efficiency options for your community of faith! Put your faith into action and take steps today that will benefit for your congregation and creation tomorrow!

Top projects to complete to move forward with energy efficiency

  1.  Lighting projects pay for themselves in a year or two and result in huge savings. Aside from changing out incandescents for LEDs or fluorescents for T-LEDs, consider motion sensors.    
  2.  Weatherization such as caulking and air sealing is relatively low-cost and can reduce drafts, improving the comfort in your building, and reduce heating costs 10 to 25 percent.
  3.  HVAC projects take planning and an investment but result in long term benefits. However, maintenance like a boiler tune-up can reap savings with relatively low investment. 
  4.  Wi-Fi thermostats can be controlled remotely from your smart phone. 

Lower project costs and increase energy efficiency with these suggestions

University Lutheran Church, East Lansing accessed huge savings by connecting to their utility provider's savings programs!

Utility programs offer free energy assessments, rebates and incentives on projects and instant discounts on qualified purchases.

For University Lutheran Church in East Lansing the rebates with their utility:
      1. covered 50-75% of the cost of upgrading the interior lighting throughout the building   
      2. replaced their parking lot lighting for just $1,000 on a job for which a contractor quoted them $25,000   
      3. covered $3,000 of the church's $3,600 annual boiler maintenance

In Michigan, because of state energy legislation, our utilities are required to help their customers reduce their energy waste. That's why there are several ways to get discounts and rebates on energy saving projects. Connect with your utility provider for information on free energy assessments, rebates and incentives on projects and instant discounts on qualified purchases. Connect with Consumers Energy, DTE, Upper Peninsula Power CompanyAlpena Power Company,  Indiana Michigan Power

The Lord of Lord's Ministries in Detroit installed a 13.91-kilowatt ground-mounted solar panel system in the fall of 2023, a project that cost $31,150. The Inflation Reduction Act’s incentives will provide a direct pay refund of 30% of those costs.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) can provide you with 30% or more back on specific project costs through the direct pay (also known as elective pay) program.  

Included in the IRA, are clean energy tax credits for:

  •   Solar projects 
  •   Back up battery storage 
  •   Electric Vehicle charging stations 
  •   Geothermal Heat Pumps 
  •   Weatherization such as insulation

 Review the form, FAQ on Federal Programs for Houses of Worship, available at: Federal Funding for Houses of Worship.  

Each congregation should speak with their accounting professional when applying for Direct Pay, (Elective Pay) especially when considering inclusion of roof or other costs. Learn about the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and how Direct Pay can help your congregation to recoup efficiency related expenses.

St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Detroit's diocese was very open to providing funding for a window project that they otherwise would not have been able to do.  As a result, the congregation has been better equipped to create revenue by renting space with an impoved building envelope.

Find funding!  Financing is often provided at low rates for faith communities.

Denominations vary greatly in how they approach supporting individual congregations needs for building upkeep and efficiency.  Some are well equipped to offer grants or low interest loans for projects.  Take a moment to explore what options are available to your house of worship.

Congregations without denominational affiliation or assistance may want to take advantage of some low interest rate options with Michigan Saves. Michigan Saves is all in on clean energy—efficiency, renewables, diversification, carbon reduction—you name it. For congregations that find those improvements are too costly, Michigan Saves can help. Qualifying commercial and municipal customers could receive as low as 0% APR for eligible improvements, like commercial building insulation, HVAC systems, and lighting. Check if your project qualifies! 

Aside from grants from your denomination/faith, low to no interest financing is another way to fund your projects. Links shared here can assist you in exploring options with denominational and interdenominational funding organizations. 


Our recommendations for Michigan congregations:

    Take action today. Don't wait for grants that may or may not be available to make building upgrades that will benefit your congregation and the environment immediately.   

    Form a Green Team for your congregation! 

           1.  Recruit at least three friends from your congregation who care about sustainability as an aspect of faith.

           2.  Meet with your congregational leader(s) to get their endorsement

           3.  Research your denomination's statements on creation care

           4.  Become an officially recognized group in the congregation. 

      You can find out more about how to form a Green Team by watching Hope For Creation's webinar.

         Get 2 or 3 quotes from qualified contractors. Find contractors on your utility website or use this contractor search tool.

         Plan to do the work yourself?  Access discounts and rebates on materials with your utility provider.

         Learn about the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) Know how to apply and what projects are covered.

         Go on a treasure hunt! Use this handy informational tool to learn all of the options for savings at your house of worship.


Education and Inspiration for Congregational Energy Efficiency  

Watch our Energy Stewardship Webinar  In this webinar, you will learn:

  • where to start in your energy saving journey
  • how to access discounts and rebates offered by your utility
  • of inspiring examples of faith communities who have put faith into action with energy stewardship

Check out other past webinars:

How Royal Oak First United Methodist Church renovated their historic building for energy efficiency and solar 

How Victorious Believers Ministries (Saginaw) used Consumers Energy rebates to upgrade their parking lot lighting and in the gymnasium with high-efficiency LEDs and how they plan to upgrade the lighting in the sanctuary.

Help us inspire and equip others in the Michigan IPL network by telling us about how your congregation is putting faith into action.

Michigan Interfaith Power & Light is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to inspire and equip people of faith to be better stewards of Earth. Helping congregations save energy and reducing their reliance on fossil fuels is one way we advance this mission! As a result of our efforts, we are proud that there are more ENERGY STAR-certified congregations in Michigan than in any other state.