Eliot's Commitment to Address Climate Change
Green Newton honored The Eliot Church at the Annual Awards Program on May 22, 2017. They acknowledged all the sustainability improvements - including Eliot's fantastic solar installation - as well as the outstanding environmental advocacy from members of Eliot's congregation.
Why does this slideshow start with a picture of our heating system? Eliot Church is a Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light (MIP&L) Success Story, and our boilers are one of the reasons. In December 2014, The Eliot Church building received the EPA's Energy Star designation! From MIP&L's profile of Eliot: "The net results of all the improvements? Eliot has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 46%. Although conversion to a high efficiency gas-fired heating system accounts for much of that, Eliot’s overall energy efficiency is also high. The average house of worship in the Northeast U.S. uses 50 kBTU of energy per square foot. In 2013 Eliot used 28.9 kBTU per square foot." Read the full report.
This is only one aspect of Eliot's efforts toward stewardship of God's beautiful creation, and our efforts to address climate change. Environmental Stewardship is a shared core value in our congregation. Here's an overview of what we've done in the last decade, and what's happening now:
2003 Joined Mass. Interfaith Power & Light
Installed programmable thermostats and new zone values for five heating zones within the building
2006 Hosted a community showing of “An Inconvenient Truth” sponsored by Interfaith Power & Light
Installed roof insulation and high-energy fluorescent lighting
Members held a community work day to clean radiators and seal fireplaces
2007 Members walked across the Commonwealth in the Interfaith Walk for Climate Rescue organized by Religious Witness for the Earth
2007 Eliot Energy Efficiency Evangelists lowered their personal carbon footprints by engaging in a Lenten Carbon Fast using David Gershon’s “Low Carbon Diet” workbook
2008 Planted 70 street trees in Newton in cooperation with the UCC’s Re-leaf Ministry, MIP&L and Andover Newton Theological School
2009 Rev. Tony Kill active in promoting a resolution at the annual meeting of the MA Conference which endorses 350.org, Bill McKibben’s grassroots organizing campaign
2009 Made a large capital investment in new high-efficiency, gas-fired boilers and heating distribution system
2010 MIP&L’S Leadership by Example Award awarded to Eliot, and accepted by Rev. Tony Kill and Doug Stuart at MIP&L annual meeting
2010-2011 Members obtain Mass Save home energy assessments as part of MIP&L’s Noah Challenge
Many Years: Participate in Charles River Cleanup work days on Earth Day
2014 Multiple Sermons and Adult Forums on Climate Change; September observed as a Season of Creation in Worship and Sunday School; Five Eliot Members walk in the People's Climate March. Plans continue on new ways to reduce Eliot's Carbon Footprint and to support those affected by climate change.
2014 Earned EPA's Energy Star certification
2015 At Eliot Church's fall congregational meeting, Eliot members voted:
"YES" on installing solar panels on our roof (hopefully by Earth Day 2016)! Thanks to Betsy Harper and Dave Persampieri for their time, efforts and expertise putting that resolution together;
"YES" to working in the coming year to increase our divestment from fossil fuels from 15 to 20 percent.
Thanks to Ginny Robinson, Patrick O'Reilly, Pastor Reebee and and a cadre of others for moving us forward, and thanks to our investment team for tackling how to implement it.
Eliot is part of Answering the Call: An Interfaith Gathering for Climate Action - and participates in the
Massachusetts Interfaith Coalition for Climate Action.
Associate Pastor Reebee testifies at the State House as part of an interfaith delegation in favor of
2016 Eliot partners with Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light for a Sustainable House of Worship (SHOW)
Forum to share best practices with other churches, and with 350MA/Newton to host a Carbon Pricing Forum.
Solar panels are successfully installed, providing 95% of our electric needs.
- At its Green Business Breakfast on May 19, the Newton Needham Chamber of Commerce Environment Committee presents Eliot Church with its "Special Recognition Award" honoring the work we have done to green our church, and the many ways we practice creation care and response to climate change.
- In the June annual meeting, the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC's Environmental Ministries awarded Eliot Church all three levels of their Green Congregation Award, only the fourth church in the conference to have achieved this. We are paving the way for others to follow.