Local church honored at White House
By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer
MONTEVALLO – Montevallo Presbyterian Church (USA) was recognized at the White House during the Greening America’s Congregations event Sept. 13.
The event was organized by the U.S. EPA Energy Star program and the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Rev. Leanne Pearce Reed attended the event in Washington, D.C., and said only 28 congregations in the country have been designated with Energy Star certifications.
“It was a wonderful interfaith gathering,” Reed said, noting leaders of many different faiths were recognized. “Part of our conversation was about the fact that even from these diverse faiths, every faith has a strong commitment to the care of creation, and that we need to be stewards of creation. This is a way we can really work together in an interfaith way. It’s a shared value in every faith tradition.”
The event focused on energy efficiency in churches and the means of turning the commitment of preservation into action.
After installing new insulation in the church’s education and fellowship areas, as well as energy efficient windows and Energy Star appliances, the church began reaching out to other congregations.
“In addition to the changes we’ve made in the church to become more energy efficient and lower energy consumption, our green team has been going out and working with other congregations,” Reed said. “Not only do we want to do this for ourselves, but (we asked) how we can do this for other congregations as well.”
The “green” efforts go beyond the church building in Montevallo Presbyterian’s case.
“We are located near the environmentally sensitive Cahaba River — home to many endangered and threatened species — and the air quality in our region has been poor for many years due to high levels of ozone and particulate matter pollution,” Bill Peters, chair of the church’s Green Team, wrote in a press release. “We didn’t have to sell our members on the importance of reducing our environmental impacts and preventing degradation of the environment.”
Reed said the Energy Star program’s website offers a free energy consumption tracking tool to assist congregations become more efficient.
“As you try to reduce your energy consumption, you can track and see how the things you’re doing are making a difference,” Reed said. “Even if a congregation doesn’t want to pursue the certification, they can still use those benchmark tracking tools free of charge.”