Church of Our Savior, Arlington is one of Five National Winners of $1,000 in Interfaith Power and Light
Cool Congregations Annual Award for Leadership and Sustainability
Interfaith Power and Light Announces ‘Cool Congregations Challenge’ Winners as Faith Communities Prioritize Energy Efficiency, Renewables, and Sustainability
OAKLAND, CA April, 2021 — The Church of Our Savior, in Arlington, Massachusetts is one of the five national Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) 2021 Cool Congregations Challenge winners. The annual contest accepts applications from religious congregations around the United States who are addressing global warming by reducing their carbon footprint as they create models of sustainability within their communities. The Church of Our Savior won the Energy Saver Award for replacing their rectory’s old oil furnace with new heat pumps, annually saving 15 tons of carbon dioxide and $1,700 on their energy bill.
Church of Our Savior, at 21 Marathon Street, is a small congregation with a church building and a rectory that are 100 years old. In celebrating their centennial year they considered what kind of legacy they wanted to leave and decided that decreasing their carbon footprint was high on their list of priorities, to leave a cleaner planet and greener church for future generations.
Faced with an old oil furnace on its last legs in the rectory, and a growing consciousness about the need to ditch fossil fuels to curb climate change, they wanted to reach for the stars and purchase an energy efficient, all-electric heat pump system. These systems save 30% in the winter and 60% in the summer of the energy used to heat and cool the building.
Working with Mass Save, they improved the efficiency of the rectory and qualified for a rebate on the heat pumps. They raised about half the cost from their parishioners and were racing the clock to find the remaining funds before the rebate expired. Then an unexpected bequest arrived from the estate of a beloved parishioner who had recently passed away and they were able to install the new system.
“This is wonderful news,” said the Reverend Malia Crawford, rector of Church of Our Saviour. “In 2019, we had collaborated with a diverse group of Arlington faith communities and climate justice organizations to host an Interfaith Carbon Fast Supper. From relationships that grew out of this, I learned about the Heat Smart incentive program to help switch to cleaner heating and cooling systems at a discounted cost. Building stronger relationships with our interfaith neighbors enabled us to work for a healthier planet for those who will live in this town a hundred years from now. We hope it will inspire even more people to work for climate justice.”
“Church of Our Saviour is a terrific example of people of faith embodying love of Creation in concrete action, from greening our buildings to advocating for environmental justice,” said Rev. Fred Small, Executive Director of Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light, which assists houses of worship in energy conservation improvements. “When a congregation reduces its carbon footprint, it has a powerful ripple effect as members take pride in their achievement and start to wonder what might be possible in their own homes.”
“The Church of Our Savior and the other four national winning congregations are casting a vision for the kind of world in which they want to live, and then carrying out that vision with practical actions that make a real difference in creating lasting solutions to climate change,” said Rev. Susan Hendershot, President of Interfaith Power & Light.
The Cool Congregations Challenge shows that people of faith are united by concerns about climate change and are taking action – with or without support of government policies. The winners provide strong moral role models for their communities, and their activities have a ripple effect with people in their own homes.
Interfaith Power & Light is mobilizing a religious response to global warming in congregations through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.