Hope Christian Reformed Church in Oak Forest, Ill., has become the first congregation in the CRC to be given Energy Star certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Hope obtained the designation as a result of its efforts to save electricity, gas, and water. 

“It is fabulous that Hope has reached this milestone,” said Kris Van Engen, congregational mobilizer for the CRC and coordinator of the CRC Climate Witness Project, which is encouraging congregations to make the changes necessary to reduce their use of energy.

“Hope should be commended for the great work it has done and I hope it will be a mark for other churches to try to achieve,” said Van Engen.

Churches that obtain the certification must follow EPA guidelines in reaching an acceptable limit of greenhouse gases that they emit.

Corenna Roozeboom, chair of the creation care committee at Hope CRC, said changes they have instituted include swapping out their old light bulbs for LED bulbs, purchasing and installing a more efficient heating system, installing motion-sensitive lighting, using insurance money from a hailstorm to help insulate part of the roof, and making necessary adjustments to cut down on water use.

“We see caring for creation as a moral, faith-based issue and have been doing this in a tangible way by saving energy costs in our church,” she said in another CRC News story.

Van Engen said Church of the Servant in Grand Rapids, Michigan is in the final stages of earning an Energy Star designation. The CRC’s denominational building in Grand Rapids has also won the award, making it one of the few denominational buildings in the U.S. to be given the certification.