CHICAGO, IL (April 15, 2011) – The Evangelical Covenant Church’s commitment to creation care and energy efficiency at its new central offices building has led electric utility ComEd to provide a partial reimbursement on the Covenant’s utility bill.
The promise of the $21,000 reimbursement helped Covenant and other project leaders make decisions on how best to rehabilitate the property at 8303 West Higgins Road, says Steve Dawson, president of National Covenant Properties (NCP), who guided the project. Although some choices meant a larger initial payment, “We sought out many investments that would produce dollars over the long haul.”
Those decisions included using energy efficient lights, time controls on the lights, more localized controls from the heating and air conditioning systems, and replacing the major rooftop and basement blower units with variable speed units to achieve increased operating efficiencies.
One of the efficiencies includes having sensor-activated lights that automatically turn off in a particular office if the sensor doesn’t detect movement within a specified time. Some employees have found that when working at their desks without significant movement, the lights have turned off on them. However, a wave of the arms generally turns them back on.
National Covenant Properties lends funds to churches for construction of new buildings and additions and encourages local congregations to implement energy efficient practices.
Other Covenant institutions have been recognized for their environmentally friendly business practices as well. In 2008, for example, the Broward (Florida) Board of County Commissioners presented its Emerald Award to Covenant Village of Florida for their energy saving efforts.
The Florida Covenant Retirement Community replaces old equipment with high-efficiency models, remodels apartments with water-efficient products, and uses electric-powered vehicles to transport residents on the community’s 20-acre suburban campus in Plantation. Administrators and residents also conducted an informational campaign that led to a 10 percent reduction in water usage.
Arvada Covenant Church has gone green by upgrading to more energy efficient lighting and installing a solar energy system. “Arvada Covenant Church has always made stewardship of God’s resources a priority,” Ian Thompsen, the church administrator, said earlier this year. “With our new solar system and upgraded lighting, we’ve taken our commitment to a much higher level.”
The denomination’s Resolution on Creation Care adopted at the 2007 Annual Meeting voices the Covenant’s commitment to the environment. The “Creation Care” column in The Covenant Companion also provides ideas for churches and individuals on ways to become more environmentally friendly.