This Old House of Worship


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Checking the energy loss in the belfry of the United Methodist Church in Litchfield  


The Litchfield Energy Task Force has facilitated an energy conservation program for the local  houses of worship.  The award winning program, This Old House of Worship , is offered by Connecticut Interfaith Power and Light (CTIPL) and taught by Wilson Educational Services. Five area faith communities have joined together to examine the ways in which they might reduce their energy consumption, lower greenhouse gas emissions and save money. .

Participating churches include the First Congregational Church of Litchfield, the  Litchfield United Methodist Church, St. Michaels Church, Litchfield,  Trinity Episcopal Church, Milton, St Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic  Church, Litchfield  and the Church of Christ Congregational, Goshen.

The Litchfield Energy Task Force (LETF) was initiated in the spring of 2009 by an interested group of Litchfield residents committed to reducing energy usage throughout the town of Litchfield.  LETF learned of the This Old House of Worship (TOHW) from its reputation for excellence and its acknowledgement by the CT DEP as an award winning program. 

Originally designed as Savings Through Energy Management (STEM) for schools, Wilson Educational Services adapted its curriculum for faith communities. The program teaches the participants the skills needed to reduce energy consumption in their homes and houses of worship. To date over 60 congregations in CT have participated in the program. As a result, participating congregations report substantial energy savings, reducing energy costs and the congregation's impact on global climate change.

The program covers all building energy systems, heating, lighting, ventilation and air conditioning as well as the building envelope and appliances. Participants learn to use professional equipment to test and measure the components of their buildings. They also learn how to calculate the energy  and  fuel to be saved by correcting problems found s.  It is usually taught in 5 three-hour sessions, with each session meeting in a different house of worship.

The LETF anticipates that the faith communities participating  will reduce their total energy usage by a minimum of 10%, based on the experience of past participants in this program. This reduction of energy usage will translate into reduced costs for the faith communities. 

Faith communities have a tradition of giving to the communities in which they reside, through a variety of social services. Because of  the current economy, high energy costs, shrinking faith congregations and aging buildings, many faith communities have reduced  their outreach budgets.  Energy savings “earned” by the houses of worship have the potential of turning into ecological and social benefits for the wider community.

Energy conservation practices also have an environmental impact in the form of pollution reduction and climate change abatement. An additional benefit will be a reduction in toxic emissions that cause air pollution locally and regionally and climate change globally..