SAFCEI is looking for local energy champions. Could you and your congregation be one?
Energy Audit at Church of the Holy Nativity
How can my congregation learn more about energy and be part of the change to renewables?
In 2012, SAFCEI started the Energy 100 Programme, an action-learning project. It aims to have 100 faith congregations responding to the challenge of climate change through taking practical energy related action in their congregation. We have three years to achieve our goal.
How do we start?
It begins with an interactive workshop. Congregation participants learn about renewable energy and energy efficiency (using our resources wisely) as well as conserving water and other resources.
With help from SAFCEI staff, congregations undertake an energy and water audit of their faith centre property. This provides a starting point or baseline, giving information on how energy and water are being used. It gives facts and figures on areas that are doing well, and other situations where there is room for improvement.
During the audit water consumption is measured, taking into account tea kettles boiled, water flushed down the toilet or the watering of a garden.
Under guidance from SAFCEI’s technical team, the congregation then plans steps towards becoming more energy efficient, implementing renewable energy and conserving water and other resources.
These are practical steps towards Earth stewardship and living more responsibly. Part of the impact of being an Energy100 project is that the congregation becomes a centre of excellence. It is a demonstration project that showcases a responsible environmental attitude, particularly with regard to energy and water. It will also save money!
Congregations that take part in the Energy 100 project are encouraged to join SAFCEI’s Eco-congregation Programme, becoming part of a growing movement of people of faith committed to caring for the Earth.
Report on our progress…
In 2012, the Energy100 project spent time gathering a database of congregations interested in bringing the Energy 100 project to their area. SAFCEI received an enthusiastic response.
Two fieldworkers were appointed to help congregations take the next steps. One is based in Gauteng and the other in KZN. Over the course of 2012, four congregations underwent an energy and water audit, as part to pilot the project.
20 audits have been planned within South Africa and the SADC region in 2013, with at least 10 taking the next action step.
Looking ahead to 2014, there will be another 50 audits or more! We plan to appoint additional fieldworkers and specialists. At least 35 congregations that have completed their projects will then move on to tackle other environmental issues within their Eco-congregation.
What do we do first?
1. Join the SAFCEI project:
• +27 (0)21 701 8145
• Liz – firstname.lastname@example.org
• Kate – email@example.com
2. A SAFCEI field worker will explain the process to you and meet with the leadership of the congregation to get everyone on board.
3. Before taking any action, we need to understand the current patterns of energy and water use at the congregation venue.
4. Working together, SAFCEI will help you to learn about energy and water auditing. This is a perfect project for the youth or a “green team” in the congregation.
5. SAFCEI will lead the group on a “walk through audit” where they will literally walk through the buildings, counting light bulbs, taps, and asking questions about how many hours the lights are on etc.
6. All this information will then be compiled into a simple report on the current situation and presented to the congregation leadership.
7. The report will show patterns of energy and water use and will indicate where the congregation is using resources wisely and where changes could be made. The congregation leadership will be given recommendations to consider.
8. Once a decision to take action has been made, SAFCEI will provide specialist expertise on how to proceed.
The Great Commission in Khayelitsha receives a certificate after receiving results of their water & energy audit.
SAFCEI will present Energy 100 awards or certificates to congregations that have completed their projects. These might have involved installing a rainwater tank, photo-voltaic (PV) panels for electricity, a solar water heater, or simply changing behaviour and saving energy.
Should you wish to conduct a water and energy audit of your own, we offer the following draft guidelines:
Environmental Audit Instructions (draft)
Energy and water Audit spreadsheet for places of worship (draft)
Please share your audit story with us and send us your ideas so that we can share this with other faith communities.
Be inspired, become an Earth Keeper!
The Energy 100 project is a demonstration to raise climate change awareness in faith communities. Hopefully your actions will inspire neighbouring congregations and individuals to take action too.
You do not need to be a registered Eco-congregation to join the Energy 100 project, but we encourage every faith community to lead by example and join the Earth Keeper movement.
We look forward to welcoming you on board!