Good Shepherd Episcopal Church has won a national award from Interfaith Power & Light (IP&L), including a cash prize of $1000. The award was for the “Community Inspiration” category in IP&L’s annual “Cool Congregations” challenge. There were five categories in all and Good Shepherd in Hayesville, NC joins congregations in Louisville, Kentucky; Shepherdstown, West Virginia; Carmel, Indiana; and Little Rock, Arkansas as national winners. The headline used to announce the award – “Energy Saving Volunteers in North Carolina Work at the Nexus of Climate and Poverty” aptly describes the mission of this ministry at Good Shepherd, which is to help to preserve God’s Creation by helping His People save energy. You can learn more about the award or about Interfaith Power & Light by visiting http://www.coolcongregations.org/energy-saving-volunteers-in-north-carolina-work-at-nexus-of-climate-and-poverty/
So far Energy Saving Volunteers has helped 45 families and counting to save on their electric bills by reducing wasteful uses of energy. We visit each home to do an energy assessment and then schedule a return visit for the work. Typically we provide energy efficient lighting, water heater wraps, shower head flow restrictors, weather stripping doors and windows, light repairs to reduce energy use, and other such efforts. Sometimes we provide partial funding and help with other sources to provide more substantial upgrades, such as added insulation, new water heaters, new heat pumps, window replacements, etc. And sometimes, our coaching of the clients helps with no work at all – such as understanding to use only cold water in washing clothes, dry clothes on a clothes line, take shorter showers with reduced hot water temperature, set their thermostat back, or be smarter to avoid the use of auxiliary or emergency heat on heat pumps.
While this effort is sponsored by Good Shepherd, we welcome volunteers of all faiths and religious backgrounds to assist in helping our neighbors become more financially independent and reduce the financial stress of occasional extremely high energy bills. We would be happy to have your financial donation or your help as a volunteer. You don’t have to be particularly handy, you just need to have some time and a desire to help your neighbor and this beautiful planet that is our home. Also, if you live outside of our area we would love to help you create an Energy Saving Volunteers effort in your local congregation or community.