CIPL’s 5th Annual Energy Oscars, held at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco, was the largest of all -200 were in attendance and it was the first time that the event was “sold out.”
Networking, fun, and great food from Greens Restaurant prevailed, with the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir energizing the crowd until the end.
We hope you enjoy reading about it as much as we enjoyed attending!
The emcee for the evening was Alexander Zwissler, Director and CEO of Chabot Space and Science Center. Rev. Sally Bingham, Founder and President of CIPL, lifted up the importance of science in the climate issue. “We wanted Alex Zwissler to be with us at our event to show that science and religion can and must work together,” she said. “When we are talking about climate change, religion would not have a prayer without the scientific facts to back up our request for conservation and transitioning society away from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.”
But the real stars of the evening were the representatives from the finalist congregations. The work of the these congregations inspired all those in attendance and served as signs of hope that a brighter future is indeed possible.
Here’s one article online at Sierra Club Green Home:
Energy Oscars Recognize Wide Variety of Faith Efforts
More photos online: Flickr set 2011
Finalists and winners in each category:
Winners: Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, Muir Beach and Trinity Church of Menlo Park
In contemplating the type of energy-efficient student housing to build on Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, the Farm found what they were looking for in the “passive house” principle. A passive house saves energy through careful sealing, insulation, and innovative design of air exchange, using the heat from the air being drawn out to warm the fresh air coming in. This simple mechanism vastly reduces the energy required to heat the building. As a result, the student hall uses 90% less energy than a regular code compliant new building, and it is the first certified multi-unit passive house in the U.S. The student hall also incorporates solar water heating and stored rainwater to flush the toilets.
Green Gulch’s student housing is a manifestation of the Buddhist principles of committing to live for the benefit of all beings and to tread lightly on the Earth.
The energy saving program of Trinity Church in Menlo Park began two years ago. The first year of the program Trinity was able to reduce electrical consumption by 11%, simply by an awareness campaign that focused on behavioral changes like turning off lights and computers. (Sounds simple, but these are often the most difficult changes to implement!) In the second year, incorporating energy efficiency measures, Trinity achieved an additional 16% savings. Then, a lighting retrofit was performed all over the 2-acre campus, and with a PG&E rebate covering half of retrofit costs, the payback period is under two years.
Other efficiency measures include: a just-completed energy retrofit in the rectory, including new heating and cooling ducts, attic insulation, a new furnace, and energy-efficient appliances.
And Trinity Menlo’s efforts don’t stop at the church walls – what’s even more impressive is how it has inspired parishioners to embrace the ethic of energy efficiency at home. In 2010, Trinity took part in Interfaith Power & Light’s 10% Challenge to save energy, and 34 households participated, monitoring and reducing energy consumption at home.
Finalist: Temple Judea, Tarzana
Several years ago, under the leadership of Rabbi Dan Goor, Temple Judea in Tarzana made the decision to ensure their buildings were as sustainable as possible. This year, they designed and built several new buildings on their campus, including the sanctuary and the administration building. Part of the old building was recycled and re-used in the new construction. They also used sustainable building materials and techniques including: 25% Fly Ash concrete, which reduces the greenhouse gases in the manufacturing of cement; recycled stone countertops; a cool roof system; and bamboo flooring approved by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Not only was energy saved by the attention paid to building materials, Temple Judea will reduce their energy consumption going forward, with energy-efficient lighting throughout, occupancy sensors; programmable dimming; and lighting control panels. The HVAC system is state of the art, and the building itself employs energy-saving features that reduce the demand for heating and cooling. Water-conservation measures are in place including low-flow lavatories and sinks.
With the addition of a sustainable external landscape, Temple Judea is among the top greenest congregations in the San Fernando Valley.
Finalist: First Lutheran Church, San Diego
Before starting its energy efficiency makeover, First Lutheran Church in San Diego church measured its carbon footprint and received three separate energy audits. With the leadership of its Green Team, the church went to work on lowering their footprint, while educating its parishioners on energy stewardship at home. Though First Lutheran had already received a high score from the EPA Energy Star program, the Green Team saw that there were a lot of opportunities to become even more energy efficient.
And they were right. First Lutheran has further reduced its footprint by 31% conducting an energy-efficient lighting retrofit; installing sky lights in the sanctuary, encouraging bicycling by installing bike racks; and reducing the use of heating and cooling. First Lutheran also engaged in a variety of educational events, such as the annual Earth Day nature walk in the city, hosted an Energy Fair, helped defeat counter-climate policy such as Prop 23, and has adopted Lenten themes around using energy and water more consciously.
Winner: Metropolitan Community Church in the Valley, North Hollywood
MCC in the Valley, North Hollywood practices “radical inclusion” and a few years ago decided to make the Earth a member of the congregation. Its ministry, Alive & Green, was started a few years ago to help the congregation show respect for the earth. MCC in the Valley believes that ecology is central to Christian faith. With its solar panels, meditation garden, and attention to all areas of sustainability, the church is one of the greenest congregations in the San Fernando Valley.
MCC in the Valley was very active in the fight against Prop 23 last year, and in the successful campaign to pass a 33% renewable energy target statewide by 2020. Its two leaders, the Reverends Bob and Joe Shore-Goss, sent letters to their elected representatives on all of CIPL’s priority legislation, and collected sign-on letters from their members. MCCV also hosted the launch of an L.A. area Eco-Clergy group in March and is active in the campaign to get the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power to commit to being coal-free by 2020.
Finalist: Holy Family Catholic Church, San Jose
In conjunction with the Catholic Green Initiative of Santa Clara County, Holy Family Catholic Church, San Jose encourages area Catholics to take part in a unified green vision for the diocese. Holy Family gets its members involved via a Faith in Action Team and a Green Team that facilitates parishioners’ writing letters to the editor and speaking out on important policy concerns. It has asked all its congregants to sign the St. Francis Pledge, which includes a commitment to pray, learn about, assess, act on and advocate for climate issues, especially as they affect the most vulnerable.
Holy Family takes to heart the 7th principle of Catholic Social Teaching – Care for God’s Creation – and aims to practice what it preaches. The church is proud to be the original of five parishes within the Diocese to go solar. One hundred eighty five kilowatts of solar energy are now installed on two areas of the campus. In its first year, the solar system generated nearly two-thirds of the electricity used on the campus. As a result, Holy Family is modeling the clean energy solutions they want to see adopted across the wider society.
Finalist: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Santa Cruz County
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Santa Cruz County, in coordination
with the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry, has been an active supporter of state and national energy and climate legislation. It is also involved with many issues affecting Santa Cruz County, such as desalination alternatives, and working to protect oceans, beaches and rivers with Save our Shores.
UU Santa Cruz gets its members and the outside community involved through services focused on sustainable issues such as simple living and ethical eating, and hosting workshops and events. As with the other finalists in the Advocacy category, UU Santa Cruz also walks the talk – having undertaken a variety of energy saving techniques from installing solar and energy efficient lighting, to using rainwater capture and storage.
Winner: Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno
Three years ago, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno built a LEED-certified building (shown here)
and later installed solar panels as well. Congregation members have taken action to reduce home energy use and other climate response actions.
UU Fresno’s highlight event of the year was hosting an Earth Day celebration with the Fresno Earth Day Coalition that turned out close to 1,000 people. The celebration provided fun activities and lots of information for attendees on alternative energy vehicles, e-waste recycling, local organic food, green businesses, and even a solar cooking demonstration. UU Fresno is one church that has truly become a leader in educating the wider community on environmental and climate stewardship.
Finalist: St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, San Diego
The Simpler Living Ministry of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, San Diego, offers a wide variety of educational events and opportunities, including film screenings, lectures, workshops on sustainable living, and even a “slow food” potluck. The Ministry also works with elementary-aged children once a month in the Growing with God program, combining Episcopal curriculum and creation care.
St. Paul’s is active in the broader community, and joined with other congregations to form EarthKeepers San Diego, which advocates for sustainable measures locally. It is also a lead congregation in CIPL’s San Diego Working Group.
This fall, St. Paul’s took on a high profile role in climate change education and awareness by helping to organize San Diego’s Moving Planet Day of Action, on September 24th . The church hosted an interfaith panel that led a discussion of the faith role in the climate movement, which attracted an audience of over 100. Later that day the march and rally that followed attracted 400 participants. St. Paul’s is a great example of climate education that extends to awareness-raising throughout their community and city.
Finalist: St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church, San Francisco
St. Cyprian’s Church, San Francisco took a creative approach on a project to green their street corner while educating the broader community. By involving their neighbors and members, St. Cyprian’s transformed the hard concrete sidewalks on the corner of Lyon and Turk to a permeable, green landscape. The intent of the project was to allow rain to filter to the aquifer below, reducing the burden of the city sewer system and saving energy. At every step of the way, the project enjoyed community collaboration.
With a compelling vision but little financing, the church held a fundraiser attended by 60 people at a local restaurant. Students from the University of San Francisco conducted initial research to plug into the city’s program known as Grey2Green for building permeable sidewalks. Finally, a landscape architect from the neighborhood donated his time to design the sidewalk area with more than 100 plants in 160 square feet. The result is a a beautiful sidewalk, healthier groundwater and a community aware and committed to a environmental concerns.
Winner: First Presbyterian Church, San Bernardino
First Presbyterian Church, San Bernardino, located in the Inland Empire, is heavily impacted by the transportation sector, which is a huge contributor to global warming and high cases of respiratory illnesses in the local communities. Partly in an effort to reduce regional air pollution, the church Green Team members placed a 53 kW solar array on its sanctuary and Fellowship Hall. This has resulted in an impressive 90% reduction in monthly electrical costs.
Other measures instituted by First Presbyterian include: energy-efficient lighting; motion sensors; sky lights; solar tube lighting; twist timers and energy-efficient refrigerators. First Presbyterian remains active in the environmental educational field as well, offering workshops on energy efficiency, and is an active supporter of climate and energy legislation. Recently, the whole church got on board in the planting of 20 new trees on the church’s perimeter, bringing beauty and shade to the surrounding community.
Finalist: Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, Hermosa Beach
Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, Hermosa Beach holds the distinction of being the first church in the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese to install solar panels on the roofs of both its church and school, resulting in a 65kW system. It has become a green building model for the whole of the Archdiocese. In addition to solar, other energy-efficient measures were undertaken, including a lighting retrofit; skylights; energy efficient windows and the use of natural ventilation; low-flow toilets and Energy Star appliances. There is also drought-resistant landscaping and permeable gravel to reduce run-off and storm water pollution to the ocean.
Rev. Ray Mallett, the Franciscan pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, holds the ideal of Creation stewardship very dear. “To St. Francis” he says, “all of Creation was our brother or sister. This project uses the resources of brother sun to light up our church and school.”
Finalist: Temple Sinai, Oakland
Temple Sinai, Oakland was recently awarded a Silver Level LEED rating – for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The building was planned to use resources more efficiently and provide a healthier work and living environment for staff, students and members. Some of the building’s green features include: a minimum of 50% wood used is is approved by the Forest Stewardship Council; energy efficient lighting on timers and occupancy sensors; natural light and ventilation in classrooms, office and the new chapel; an efficient heating and cooling system; lots of insulation; and low VOC paint.
In addition to their new green building, Temple Sinai supports regional environmental programs, such as Community Supported Agriculture. The careful planning that went into this building’s construction and programs make it a real community asset to all of Temple Sinai’s members and its neighbors in Oakland.
Finalist: Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco
The First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco was granted Green Sanctuary status by the UU Ministry for the Earth, a process that requires action in four areas: worship and celebration; religious education; environmental justice; and sustainable living. In addition to its 21.5 kW solar system, the Society has undertaken many energy-efficient measures, such as a lighting retrofit. Its educational campaign on recycling and composting, humorously called “Trash Talking” has resulted in an impressive $630 reduction in waste bills monthly.
First UU’s efforts go past their front door and into the social arena. They are very strong on advocacy for climate and energy policy, and participated in San Francisco’s Moving Planet Day of Climate Action.
CIPL applauds all finalists in the 2011 Energy Oscars and thanks them for their contribution to a healthier, brighter future.
Thanks to our 2011 sponsors:
Terawatt ($1000 and above)
New Resource Bank • Pacific Gas and Electric Company • San Francisco Zen Center
Luminalt Solar Energy Solutions • Next Generation • Tom & JaMel Perkins
Rev. Earl Koteen, Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry • St. Ignatius Parish, San Francisco
Rabbi Marvin Goodman, Northern California Board of Rabbis • The Beatitudes Society
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Oakland • SunPower • St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Orinda
Environmental Defense Fund • Bank of the West
Lutheran Office of Public Policy • Progressive Christians Uniting • Union of Concerned Scientists
Catholic Charities Stockton • Metropolitan Community Church in the Valley, North Hollywood
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Walnut Creek • St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, Berkeley
St. Ambrose Episcopal Church, Foster City • Niles Congregational Church, Fremont
The Vote Solar Initiative • Energy Upgrade California
Check out the great time we had in 2010!
The 4th Annual CIPL Energy Oscars, held on November 9th at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, was an especially exciting night, as we also celebrated the 10th anniversary of CaliforniaInterfaith Power and Light. On that night we gathered to honor some of the most outstanding congregations that have led the fight against climate change. Ed Begley, Jr., did a fabulous job as M.C., sharing the personal story of his efforts to live more sustainably, and presenting beautiful trophies to the winners. We think you’ll be inspired to read about the accomplishments of the winners and finalists.