Empowering congregations to save energy

SAFCEI believes that respect and care for all life on Earth is a mandate given to all people of God.”(Kate Davies)  Ever since the founding of SAFCEI our representatives from a range of faith communities have petitioned and lobbied leadership locally and internationally for just and environmentally responsible energy provision and consumption. Sadly but not surprisingly the abiding message from SAFCEI staff who attended COP 19 in December 2013 is that we can no longer wait for our governments to act. As individuals and communities we need to learn how to live within the natural limits of our Earth. We need to truly understand that for us and our children to be healthy both physically and spiritually, we need a healthy Earth with intact eco–systems that provide clean water, stable climates, fertile land and vibrant plant and animal communities.

Our grandchildren have no Planet B.  What we do have are dedicated faith based congregations with an extensive communication network embedded in all communities.  Yes! Your congregation can be a grass roots power for raising awareness and taking action for sustainable use of energy, water and eco-friendly being.

SAFCEI is looking for energy champions. Could you and your congregation be one?

In 2012 SAFCEI started Energy 100, an energy awareness and efficiency implementation project. The aim is to raise the awareness and understanding of the energy and water use of 100 faith congregations within 3 years and for at least 35 of these congregations to implement efficiency measures and reduce consumption.  2014 is the final year of funding for Energy 100. Over 40 faith congregations across the country and Lesotho have been involved to date. These congregations have the potential to be centres of awareness, learning and action about living within the Earth’s resources and can spread their learning to all the members of their congregations.  Imagine the ripple effect!  SAFCEI invites your congregation to join a wave of positive change.  

What is involved – How does my congregation start?

Great Commission food Kitchen w hotboxUnderstanding and then reducing unnecessary consumption is not just the right thing to do it also saves money.  In the face of guaranteed increases in the cost of water and electricity, saving money is a good incentive.  However, the real benefit comes from understanding consumption patterns in order to make informed decisions about priorities, effective behavioural changes or to justify expenditure on efficient technologies where appropriate such as low energy lighting, solar heating, hot boxes, rain tanks, renewable energy etc.

 Step 1: Join the Energy 100 Project. Contact SAFCEI:  CT office +27 (0)21 701 8145 or Pretoria office +27 (0)12 323 6458. Email: Kate Davies at kate@safcei.org.za, Tsepo Hlasoa at info@safcei.org.za or Glynis Goyns at glynis@safcei.org.za Ideally we would like you to become an Eco–Congregation.

Step 2: A SAFCEI energy auditor will meet with you and the leadership of your congregation to explain the process. It is important to get the key decision makers on board. Now would be a good time to nominate people who will be committed to championing this process within your congregation, or better still to start a green team.

Energy Smart @RMC  Step 3: You need to understand your current energy and water use.  The SAFCEI energy auditor will explain the principles of auditing or measuring the energy and water use to your `green team’. This is a perfect project to for your youth.

Step 4: Working with your team, the SAFCEI energy auditor will lead a walk through audit. This is literally a walk through the buildings to count lights, taps, the wattage of appliances etc and to find out how many hours they are used per day or week.

Step 5: An Audit Report of the consumption will be compiled by the SAFCEI energy auditor and will be presented to the congregation leadership. The report will typically show where energy and water consumption is appropriate and where it appears to be high.  Recommendations to reduce consumption will be tabled for discussion.

Step 6: Once the congregation has had a chance to consider the findings and agree on further action, the green team or persons championing change will be supported by the SAFCEI energy auditor to implement changes and if required to find the expertise to install energy and / or water saving technologies. See a poster with key steps below.

Recognition for joining the journey to Sustainability.

liz mcd hands energy 100 certificate to Diakonia  - wEarth Keeper Energy 100 certificates are awarded to congregations that implement efficiency measures whether they made behavioural changes or applied new technology such as energy efficient flood lights, hot boxes, solar geysers, rain tanks etc.

Be the change!

 

 

 

Photo #1: One of the dedicated women who works at food kitchen of The Great Commission Church in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. They now use a hot box for the preparation of the food and to keep it warm. They use gas for cooking and are happy at the savings as a result of the hot box.

Photo #2: SAFCEI encourages youth to be involved in the auditing process, to learn to connect why and how we need to take care of God’s creation. Rosebank Methodist Church in Cape Town had a wonderful energy smart session with their youth.

Photo #3: SAFCEI’s Liz McDaid hands over an Energy 100 Certificate for the Diakonia Council of Churches to their Executive Director, Nomabelu Mvambo-Dandala and Baphiwe Nxumalo, their Eco-justice Coordinator. 

Photo #4: Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Hillcrest, Durban, is handed an Energy100 certificate, in recognition of their initiative to become a centre of excellence in their community. Baphiwe Nxumalo is handing over the certificate on behalf of SAFCEI’s Board.

Certificate handover at Holy TrinityEnergy100

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