Spotlight: Peace Lutheran Church – “Doing Nothing is No Longer an Option”

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Addressing climate change is one of the most critical issues of our time. And as many businesses, nonprofits, schools, and congregations are discovering, making changes to reduce their organization’s environmental impact is not a burdensome endeavor – it is actually a fairly easy and inexpensive process.

Better Business Challenge participant Peace Lutheran Church has found this to be true, as the local church begins to take easy-to-implement yet concrete steps to save energy and decrease its greenhouse gas emissions.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (of which Peace Lutheran is a member) has outlined its thinking on corporate social responsibility in a “Caring for Creation Climate Change Issue Paper.” A commitment to confronting threats posed by climate change serves as a guiding principle in the work the ELCA – and Peace Lutheran Church – does to care for the health of the planet and its people.

Peace Lutheran Church’s ‘Creation Care’ team recently shared some of the energy-smart solutions and sustainable practices they have deployed as part of the Challenge, from installing low-flow devices on sinks and switching to LED bulbs to conducting an energy and lighting assessment.

Why did Peace Lutheran Church join the Charlottesville Better Business Challenge?

CREATION CARE TEAM: [We joined the Challenge to] take advantage of the walk-through review of our facility and find ways to reduce energy usage. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, our national organization, has published statements and study guides on climate change, creation care, and hunger. Climate change is an important challenge to society, and we are looking for ways to respond.

What sort of actions has Peace Lutheran Church taken so far to save energy (and money) or to lower your carbon footprint as part of the Challenge?

CREATION CARE TEAM: We have analyzed our energy usage and calculated our carbon footprint based on that source of emissions. We have received an evaluation from the Local Energy Alliance Program and a lighting review by Batteries + Bulbs. Our plan is to allocate [a] budget to fix identified problems and upgrade lighting. Additional steps are under discussion.

What sort of energy-saving and carbon footprint-reducing measures are you looking forward to exploring or implementing (as part of the Challenge)?

CREATION CARE TEAM:

  • Fixing the insulation in the attic

  • Increasing insulation around water pipes

  • Installing low-flow devices on sinks

  • Swapping out bulbs for LEDs

  • Several other minor changes

What advice would you offer other local businesses or organizations who may be interested in saving energy, going green, or reducing their environmental impact (in addition to joining the Challenge)?

CREATION CARE TEAM: The process has been quite inexpensive and easy. The changes we intend to make aren’t costly, but should result in a substantial reduction in energy costs. The need to address climate change is now critical. Doing nothing is no longer an option.