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Sacred Spaces Clean Energy Grant

This pilot project addresses two challenges: the harm caused by the climate crisis and the difficulty for low-income congregations to pay for the achievement of energy efficiency for their buildings. The urgency of the climate crisis means that low-income houses of worship need help with transitioning to more sustainable forms of heating and cooling.  

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Low-income people in the US are also those who confront the climate crisis first and foremost.  Often these same people experience inequitable environmental degradation where they live and work. This pilot project will provide both energy efficiency and likely renewable energy to the houses of worship where low-income people live in the state of Michigan.

The savings created by making these public buildings more energy efficient will allow congregations to use that money to provide more services to their communities.  This will serve to make Michigan houses of worship more resilient and support the whole community in times of need.  What a win-win! 

Application for Congregations

There are several components to this application. Note the form will not save your progress and will not be editable after submission.

Invitation to Vendors

Proposals to direct this project are being accepted until September 2nd.

Phases

Shovel

Phase 1

Current

A project director will be hired while houses of worship are encouraged to apply for the 10 grants available.

Watering Can

Phase 2

Grant recipients will be chosen following Sept. 12 deadline.  Staff and consultants will support churches to implement energy stewardship plans.

Plant

Phase 3

Each congregation will implement their plans for energy efficiency.  The EPA’s Portfolio Manager will serve as a baseline for the project.

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Phase 4

The results of this project will be shared with congregations across Michigan. Stayed tuned for stories of these projects and future opportunities.  

FAQ

This pilot project addresses the interconnection between two challenges: the harm caused by the climate crisis and the fact that low-income congregations, because of inequity, are unable to pay for the achievement of energy efficiency for their buildings. The climate crisis requires the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. That reduction includes any burning of fossil fuels that provides public buildings, including houses of worship with electricity, heating and cooling. 

One important way to reduce greenhouse gases is to make public buildings more energy efficient. Another is to encourage the use of renewable energy, like solar, wind and geothermal. Low-income houses of worship and low-income families are not able, on their own, to afford the installation of energy efficient measures. Low-income people in the US are also those who confront the climate crisis first and foremost. They do so at the same time they experience inequitably environmental degradation which often confronts them where they live and work. This pilot project will provide both energy efficiency and renewable energy to the houses of worship where low-income people live. Local low-income community families and congregation members will have new education and awareness about energy efficiency and renewable energy.  This effort will provide one model for providing these products in the state Michigan. 

This will serve to make Michigan houses of worship more resilient and support the whole community in times of need. 

The requirements for congregations to qualify for this project include: 

  • Congregations must be in Michigan which includes the Upper Peninsula; 
  • Congregations can be affiliated with any denomination or faith group; 
  • Their annual budgets must be less than $250,000; 
  • The congregation must have at least 50 members; 
  • The congregation must have been operational for ten years; 
  • The congregational must be in a public building. It may not be a residential property. 
  • All ten congregations must operate active programs responding to human needs, like food pantries, health clinics, ministries with returning citizens etc.; All ten congregations must have been active in responding to the needs of people in their community resulting from Covid 19. 
  • There must not be any recent instability; 
  • The project will choose 10 congregations scattered throughout the state. 

The project will provide grants to ten low-income congregations in Michigan for $100,000 each to make their buildings more energy efficient and will also explore the possibility of finding funding for solar energy for those houses of worship.

A director of the project will be found and prepared for leadership. It is expected that the director of this project will be hired within the first five months of this project. He/she will continue to support the ten congregations during the duration of the project as they make their buildings more energy efficient. 

There will be an Advisory Committee of unpaid people who will advise the staff and consultants about both the energy efficiency and solar energy aspects of the project. The Advisory Committee will assist the consultants in planning and advising them about the implementation of the project. 

 

Do you know of a congregation that could benefit from these grants?  Make sure they have the link to this website or download our one page description of the project to share.