1. Measure your energy – invest in a domestic energy monitor
2.Switch to low-energy light bulbs
3.Improve insulation – draught-excluders, heavy curtains,
thicker roof/wall insulation.
4.Turn your thermostat down – by two degrees.
5.Turn lights off – when you're not using them.
6.Switch appliances off at the socket – leave nothing on standby.
7. Mend dripping taps.
8. Switch to a green energy tariff.
9. Invest in solar panels.
10.Invest in a wind turbine.
Leaders site both spiritual and financial motives
KALAMAZOO, Michigan- Caring for the Earth and reducing energy expenses are two of the reasons some Kalamazoo-area churches are focusing on going green.
Their moves may be small, such as eliminating the use of plastic-foam coffee cups.
Or they may be major, such as including energy-efficient features in construction projects, as St. Thomas More Catholic Student Parish in Kalamazoo has done.
In either case, the goals are the same, says a St. Thomas More parishioner. "We have a moral obligation to look after creation,
because we have an effect on other people," said Claire McSwiney, a scientist at the Michigan State University Kellogg Biological Station, in Hickory Corners.
Unity of Kalamazoo, a spiritual community that draws on many religious traditions, has made a series of moves toward going green and continues to do so, said its minister, the Rev. Marty Newman.
A partial list:
• All plastics in the church hospitality coffee shop and kitchen have been eliminated.
• Regular attendees bring their own coffee cups from home. Visitors drink from paper coffee cups.
• Paper bulletins and orders of service have been eliminated in favor of PowerPoint slide presentations. Unity encourages use of the church Web site to get information, helping to reduce the volume of printed materials by 75 percent.
• As old light bulbs burn out, new, energy-efficient bulbs are installed.
• Energy-saving spotlights and floodlights, along with dimmer switches, have been installed.
North Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo also has made the move away from plastic-foam cups and has taken other small steps. One major move was replacing its old furnace, which was at the end of its useful life, with an energy-efficient unit.
"The new furnace has saved us a lot of money in natural gas," said the Rev. Linda Cook McDonald, North's minister. "The gas company was so shocked they figured they had better come and read the meter."
Energy efficiency, education
St. Thomas More has tackled the green issue on two fronts: in a recent building-addition project and through parish education.
The building project, completed in 2008, included installation of low-flow toilets, energy-efficient light bulbs, energy-efficient water systems for landscaping and programmable heating and lighting controls. Whenever possible, natural materials were used throughout the building.
"All that made it easy to argue that if we were going to have this green building, then we as a community needed to start behaving differently," McSwiney said.
For the past two years, McSwiney has organized "Green Lent" activities designed to educate parishioners and give them a way to monitor their progress in becoming environmentally friendly.
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