Congregations Can Make a Big Difference!


The Energy Star for Congregations web site asks -- Did you know?? If America’s more than 370,000 houses of worship cut energy use by 10 percent…

  • Nearly $315 million would be saved for congregations’ missions and other priorities.
  • More than 1.8 billion kWh of electricity would be available without additional cost and pollution.
  • More than 1.3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented, equivalent to the emissions of about 240,000 cars, or to planting nearly 300,000 acres of trees.

But, 30% savings are typical...

How much difference can they make in Oak Park-River Forest??

Representatives from 17 Oak Park and River Forest congregations gathered at the Oak Park Library on Monday, March 5th, to learn about a pilot program for reducing energy, waste and water, as part of the PlanItGreen sustainability plan.  Jim Babcock welcomed the group and inspired and challenged us with a reading from the "Declaration of the Jewish Environmental and Energy Imperative -- a Call to Action."

For if we do not do these things, who will do them? Though we are neither prophets nor the sons and daughters of prophets, are we not Earth’s custodians, guardians of a creation entrusted to us by God for all future generations, assigned to choose life? Call us watchmen, call us sentinels, call us your brothers and your sisters, who turn to you in every tongue of request: Join with us, that we may together restore what has been ruined, make straight the crooked way, preserve, protect, and cherish the bounty that is ours to tend and ours to bequeath, repaired, to those yet to come.

Kindy Kruller, of the Delta Institute, presented the PlanItGreen goals in the areas of Energy, Waste and Water, along with low cost and higher cost strategies that can be used to lower energy and water usages and the amount of waste that goes to landfills.  She also shared guidelines for implementation and resources that will provide more details.  See below to find links to the various resources shared in the power point presentation.

The congregations then met in smaller groups to explore what this might look like in their own congregations.  Congregations shared plans, such as conducting an energy audit, and planting a native garden -- which reduces stormwater runoff among other benefits.

The next event planned to support the congregational benchmarking process is a luncheon on March 19th, noon - 1:30pm, for building engineers and trustees or others responsible for the building and grounds of congregational facilities.  Click here to access a flyer for the event.

Energy Resources:

•ComEd Audit

Waste Resources:

Water Resources

Oak Park Website