Washington, D.C. – October 4, 2017 – On Thursday, September 28, Catholic Climate Covenant announced the national launch of its Catholic Energies (CE) program with a webinar to nearly 300 participants from across the country and around the world. The CE program was then featured by Catholic News Service in the October 2 story “Catholic Energies looks to help church organizations go green.”
“Our vision is to make the U.S. Catholic Church the most energy efficient religious organization in the world,” says Dan Misleh, founding executive director of Catholic Climate Covenant. “In this way, we will rise to meet the challenges outlined in Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, and be a witness to the communities in which we minister,” he continued.
This unique and important program seeks to help eliminate waste from Catholic campuses (churches, schools, dioceses, hospitals and other organizations) through energy projects that reduce energy costs. The Catholic Energies approach is comprehensive and it provides campuses with the ability to: invest in energy efficiency projects to reduce energy waste; buy cleaner, less expensive energy; and install renewable energy and storage systems to minimize campuses’ dependence on the grid. The savings generated from these projects allow the campuses to divert what had been utility expenses to their core mission activities. In addition, engaged campuses will use the opportunity to help constituents understand Catholic teaching on the environment.
Catholic Energies is proud to partner with Verde Solutions as its project implementation partner for this program nationwide. As an award-winning, turnkey energy consulting firm, Verde Solutions brings the highest level of industry expertise and experience. “We are honored to work with the Catholic Climate Covenant to launch the Catholic Energies program. As a lifelong Catholic myself, I’m so blessed to give back to the Catholic community in a way that will have a lasting impact,” said Verde Solutions CEO Christopher Gersch. “We are committed to the Catholic Energies program, and look forward to helping parishes across the country reduce their wasteful energy spending.”
Studies show that 40% of energy use in buildings is wasted, meaning Catholic campuses are spending thousands of dollars each year on utility costs when they could instead be using that money to advance their core missions. To help these campuses waste less, Catholic Energies seeks to address three problems Catholic facilities face:
- Lack of time – Most Catholic facilities managers lack the time to pursue energy-saving programs. Catholic Energies makes it possible for these overstretched, under- resourced managers to pursue proactive and mission-critical energy projects, all of which can reduce wasteful energy spending on Catholic campuses.
- Lack of trust – Catholic leaders are sometimes unsure of who they can trust regarding energy services and Catholic education. Catholic Energies is a Catholic nonprofit that understands Catholic values and culture. It grounds its work in Catholic teaching —from St. John Paul II, to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to Pope Francis. CE works with local educators to ensure that parishioners, students, employees, and other campus stakeholders understand the Catholic obligation to care for both creation and those who suffer from environmental harm, especially the poor and vulnerable. In addition, CE ensures that local companies are part of every project, providing small businesses the opportunity to complete projects for campuses in their own backyards.
- Lack of funding – Despite the fact that most energy projects pay for themselves several times over through the savings these projects generate, figuring out how to pay for projects can be a daunting task for Catholic leaders. Catholic Energies offers a variety of financing programs and works with organizational leaders and other stakeholders to ensure that questions about how to pay for energy projects do not prevent worthy projects from moving forward.
“There are more than 70,000 Catholic-owned buildings in the U.S. alone,” says Dan Last, Chief Operating Officer for the Catholic Energies program. “The market is as enormous as the opportunities to cut waste, save money and be a witness to the wider community. The potential impact Catholic Energies can have could truly be a game changer by showing Catholics and non-Catholic alike that the economic and quality-of- life benefits these projects can have for communities are no longer out of reach.”
Catholic Climate Covenant inspires and equips Catholic persons and communities to care for creation and care for the poor. Through our sixteen national partners, we guide the U.S. Church’s response to climate change by educating, giving public witness, and offering resources.