Green Interfaith Network has been awarded a $750 grant from the Episcopal Church Province IV Environmental Ministry to kickstart a regional Faith Community Green Audit program!

St. John's Episcopal, Johnson City, will be the pilot church.  GINI, St. John's leadership, and St. John's Earth Guild ministry applied together for the grant.

When our very own Carol Landis was active with Ohio Interfaith Power and Light, she helped begin a very successful program that GINI's Green Audit program is based off of.

Beginning with St. John's,  the audit program will examine a church's resource use for both in-house and outreach ministries. It will address reduction of energy use, water use, waste, and examine food and fellowship, landscaping strategies, and travel.

Along with the St. John's community, members of GINI from other faith groups will participate and take good notes as an energy industry professional provides a comprehensive energy audit for the physical facilities of St. John's. This professional assessment will provide more details than the usual "checklist" that can be found on many websites.  Other aspects of sustainability will also be examined, either by a professional or by church's members and leadership themselves.

Following the walk-through and conversation with the professional, St. John's and GINI will establish a list of suitable providers and installers in the TriCities region, and provide a cost-comparison for recommended products that follow sustainability guidelines. We will make this information available via the GINI website.

We plan to coordinate the audit with a community-building strategy. In effect, following the audit, St. John's Earth Guild will recruit two or three households to implement as many of the recommended strategies as they are able and to monitor their effectiveness and cost savings.  This is essential for environmental awareness and responsibility to become an active part of St. John's communal life and ministry.

The grant funds will cover GINI outreach and communications costs, something we sorely needed, and also provide funds to "loan" St. John's $250 to pay an audit professional. When St. John's realizes this amount of financial savings, they will repay the $250 to GINI thus  enabling GINI to loan to another church and keep spreading the love!

These are our four goals for the audit program:

Goal #1 By the end of 2012, we will have completed the energy audit process at St. John's
and have at least 3 others underway or completed. Munsey Memorial United Methodist
Church Johnson City has also recently requested assistance with an energy audit. In
addition, St. Mary's Catholic Parish Johnson City, Covenant Presbyterian Church Johnson
City, and Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church Kingsport have requested information from
GINI about how to begin a green audit process.

Goal #2 As a result of this project, GINI's members will be prepared and experienced
in helping area faith communities assess their energy needs and modify their resource
use. GINI members will be Ambassadors to other faith communities, telling other
faith communities about the Faith Community Green Audit Program and then making
themselves available to provide assistance to other faith communities.

Goal #3 Participants will document changes (purchases, behaviors, costs, etc.) to track the
overall impact of our Faith Community Green Audit Program.

Goal #4 The GINI website will contain resources for regionally-specific energy savings
practices, recommended products and more information about resource conservation and
sustainability

St. John's Episcopal is the pilot church through this grant, but there is no reason why other faith communities cannot join in with the Green Audit program. Is your faith community interested? Ask your community's leadership, because GINI is ready to provide resources to help.

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