Over 150 faith-based organizations in the Grand Rapids area have participated in a free energy efficiency program with Consumers Energy.
Participating communities encompass a wide variety of religions representing 20 different denominations, including Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Muslim places of worship. The program, Light the Way, is free to houses of worship that own their own buildings and are Consumers Energy customers.
Consumers Energy and Michigan Interfaith Power and Light (Michigan IPL) partnered to create spaces that are more energy- and cost-efficient, leaving organizations more resources to put back into their areas of service.
Leah Wiste, Michigan IPL’s executive director, said Light the Way is an important mission that equips people of faith to participate in stewardship of the Earth.
“We know it helps congregations spend less on bills and more on the things that matter,” Wiste said.
Michigan law requires utilities to spend a percentage of their profits on energy-efficiency products and services for their customers. This program helps Consumers Energy fulfill this obligation and creates cleaner, healthier communities.
Faith communities that have participated in Light the Way receive up to $1,200 for free energy-efficient upgrades, including T-LEDs, screw-in LED light bulbs and programmable thermostats. Places of worship receive a walk-through with a Consumers Energy adviser, who assesses the building’s need.
Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church (CRC) said it is saving $2,300 a year on its electricity bill, thanks to Light the Way. The church replaced its fluorescent light bulbs with energy-efficient T-LEDs with the help of volunteers, rewired lights and implemented lighting retrofits.
Altogether, Eastern Avenue CRC replaced 518 light bulbs, saving money and reducing its carbon footprint.
Eastern Avenue CRC said the work of sustainability is part of its mission.
“We have responsibilities to future generations,” said Matthew Heun, operations committee member, Eastern Avenue CRC. “One of our responsibilities is to ensure our kids and grandkids have clean air and water.”
Organizations interested in the program can sign up at Light the Way.