How to save your home or place of worship energy and money


Staff report



People’s homes and places of worship can be greener. They can save energy, save money and cut their climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions.

A speaker at Farm Science Review, which is Sept. 22-24 in London, Ohio, will show how.

Assistant professor Greg Hitzhusen from The Ohio State University will present “Energy Savings for Households and Congregations: Energy Stewards” from 11:30 a.m. to noon Sept. 22 in the Review’s Gwynne Conservation Area.

Hitzhusen, who studies religion and the environment in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, will talk about a program called Energy Stewards. The program provides a range of energy conservation resources, including an online energy use tracker and carbon footprint calculator, for homeowners, churches, temples and synagogues.

Ways to leave a smaller carbon footprint

A carbon footprint is a measure of the carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, produced to support one’s activities.

The Review is an annual farm trade show sponsored by the college.

Energy Stewards started as a pilot program by Ohio Interfaith Power and Light, a Columbus-based organization that promotes energy conservation. The program originally focused on places of worship and later expanded into a national offering for households and businesses, too.

Hitzhusen, who has a master of divinity degree from Yale University Divinity School, serves as the group’s board chair.

“I hope to provide an introduction to resources for individuals, households and congregations seeking to save energy and be better stewards of their financial resources and of the Earth’s resources,” he said.

“I hope someone who comes to the talk will come away with a number of examples of successful programs, projects and opportunities that they can pursue in their own communities.”

‘Significantly’ below-average energy use

Hitzhusen said he has seen the program’s benefits firsthand:

An Energy Stewards-supported energy audit by his own Columbus-area congregation spotted previously undetected water leakage and waste in its building.

The audit also led to installing new, 50 percent more efficient light bulbs in the building’s sanctuary.

A series of energy education and planning meetings, also supported by Energy Stewards, helped a number of the congregation’s households slash their energy use — including, in Hitzhusen’s family’s case, to a level significantly below the U.S. average.

A solar panel salesman who visited Hitzhusen’s house was impressed.

“He said our energy use was half as much as the lowest-energy consumer he’s served as a residential solar panel installer,” Hitzhusen said. “That means that not only is our electric bill lower than most households, but it wouldn’t take a very large solar array to supply most of our energy needs. To me, that’s pretty cool.

“I’m thankful for the household carbon footprint calculator we used in the program and the energy efficiency and conservation planning it provided us to see real results in our home.”

Details on Ohio Interfaith Power and Light’s Energy Stewards program are at ohipl.org/programs/stewards. The national program’s website is at energystewards.net.

Hitzhusen’s talk is one of many set for the Review’s 67-acreGwynne Conservation Area. Find a complete list atgo.osu.edu/FSRgwynne2015. The area is part of the site of the Review, the college’s 2,100-acre Molly Caren Agricultural Center.

Details about the Review overall, including activities, ticket prices and hours, are at fsr.osu.edu. Some 130,000 people are expected to attend.

Staff report

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