America’s houses of worship can now earn the ENERGY STAR label, joining the nation’s schools, hospitals, hotels and other facilities in their efforts to fight climate change, save energy and reduce their carbon footprint. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s energy tracking tool, Portfolio Manager, currently allows facilities to track energy use and the associated greenhouse gas emissions, set targets for investment priorities and verify efficiency improvements. Now the estimated 370,000 houses of worship across the United States can use Portfolio Manager to receive an energy performance rating, and the most energy efficient among them can earn the ENERGY STAR label.
Worship facilities in the United States spend more than US$3 billion annually on energy costs. Improving the energy efficiency of America’s houses of worship by just 10 percent would save nearly 2 billion kilowatt-hours each year, preventing more than 1 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions and representing a cost savings of about US$315 million annually.
Through ENERGY STAR, the EPA provides a proven energy management strategy and free tools for public and private organizations to save energy and money through increased energy efficiency. The EPA has also made additional enhancements to its tools including the ability to specify on-site green power generation and use. This feature provides a better assessment of a building’s actual energy efficiency and a more complete picture of associated carbon emissions.