Here is a checklist for greening the buildings and grounds of your congregation!
Checklist for Green Congregations: Building, Grounds, and Practices
Correlated with pages in
Section 1. Worship (6-15)
1._____Living flowers or plants on the altar to be kept or planted later outside.
2._____Living plants or trees in the sanctuary to purify air and to be “worshipers”!
3._____Beeswax candles rather than (oil-based) paraffin wax candles.
4._____Local wine for communion
5._____Practice intinction or have re-usable glasses (not plastic) for communion.
6._____Wash communion vessels/ glasses with eco-safe dish-washing detergent.
7._____Provide communion bread of whole grain, organic and locally grown.
8._____Purchase fair trade palm fronds for Palm Sunday.
9._____Limit or eliminate use of paper for bulletins. Re-use where possible.
11.____Use post-consumer waste/ recycled paper for bulletins.
10.____Place basket near exit for recycling worship materials.
12.____Consider the origin of the paraments made for worship.
13.____Use outside light where feasible.
14.____Use outside air and fans instead of air conditioner where feasible.
15.____Use live Christmas tree and then plant on church property.
16.____Green decorations for holidays.
17.____Worship outside in nature.
18.____Safe disposal of batteries from wireless microphones.
Section 1: Office (6-15)
1._____Use post-consumer/ recycled paper
2._____Paper-use guidelines to limit use and for efficient use/ reuse.
3._____Recycle paper, ink cartridges.
4._____Proper disposal of batteries, computers, printers, copiers.
5._____Limit mailings/ use e-mail.
6._____Unplug computers/ printers/ coffee makers/ microwaves when not in use.
7._____Use fair trade coffee, tea, chocolate.
9._____Purchase Energy Star appliances when replacing equipment.
10.____Cut down on junk mail. Notify senders.
11.____Bring plants into office for beauty and to purify air.
12.____Use refilled/ recycled ink and toner cartridges when feasible.
13.____Limit number of copies for use by groups.
14.____Use white or pastel color paper. Bright colors do not recycle.
Section 1: Education (6-15)
1._____Art projects: avoid craft foam products and wax (oil-based) crayons.
2._____Use recycled paper.
3._____Provide recycling bins in classrooms.
4._____Limit photocopies of material.
Section 2: Coffee hour, receptions, and congregational meals (16-22)
1._____Eliminate Styrofoam, plastic cups, and disposable paper and plastic products.
2._____Provide mug rack.
3._____Encourage people to bring their own plates, cups, and utensils to meals.
4._____Provide/collect ceramic plates and cups, glasses, and stainless-steel utensils.
5._____Purchase efficient Energy Star dish washer and other appliances.
6._____Use eco-safe dish-washing detergents and cleansers.
7._____Provide healthy/ organic/ locally grown food items for snacks and meals.
8._____Minimize waste from food or paper/ plastic products.
9._____If you cannot eliminate waste, use biodegradable plastic options now available.
10.____Use Fair-Trade coffee, tea, chocolate, etc.
11.____Share leftover food. Compost food waste.
12.____Consider cloth napkins/ towels with member using laundry facilities at home
13.____Establish guidelines for the congregation and for outside groups using facility.
14.____For dishwashing and laundering, establish a church team, rotate use, or take a collection each time to pay a person who especially needs the money.
15.____Avoid running water unnecessarily.
16.____Turn out lights when not needed.
17.____Unplug stove, microwave, and coffee maker when not in use.
18.____Use post-consumer paper products for napkins and towels.
19.____Get rid of soda machines/ Use refrigerator and honor system.
Section 3: Energy usage: Electricity (24-40)
1._____Get off the grid with renewable energy: photovoltaic panels or wind mills.
2._____Replace all incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. Exit lights.
3._____Retrofit fluorescent lighting and replace bulbs with the most efficient available.
4._____Use electric timers on some indoor and outdoor lights. Use motion sensitive lights.
5._____Avoid (high energy) halogen lights.
6._____Use photovoltaic panels for exterior lighting or church sign.
Section 3: Energy Usage: Heat (24-40)
1._____Get off the grid with renewable energy: geothermal, wind, solar (hot water).
2._____Inspect, adjust, and clean all heating and air conditioning systems.
3._____Remove obstacles from vents and registers.
4._____Moderate heat throughout building to times and areas of use.
5._____Use ceiling fans for cooling.
6._____Raise thermostat for cooling in summer. Lower it in winter.
7._____Fix leaking faucets.
8._____Insulate hot water pipes and water heater. Use tank-less water heater.
9._____Purchase high-efficiency, Energy Star water heater and dish washer.
10.____Seal air leaks in door, windows, and gaps in the building envelope.
11.____Insulate walls and ceilings.
12.____Purchase energy-efficient windows.
13.____Use dishwasher only when full.
14.____Limit meetings to certain nights/ times for energy consumption.
15.____Foster practices among members to turn out lights when not in use.
Section 4: Paper and wood products (42-49)
1._____Set guidelines for paper use for office, worship, and education.
2._____Use recycled, chlorine-free office paper and envelopes for all uses.
3._____Or provide certified paper (Forest Stewardship Council).
4._____Use recycled paper for products in kitchen and bathrooms.
5._____Reduce paper use in office, worship and education.
6._____Provide handy paper recycling bins in various rooms.
7._____Reduce junk mail. Request senders to eliminate or ask for single catalogues.
8._____Purchase products—furniture/flooring/altars using only certified wood.
9._____Plant trees on church property, at homes/ businesses of members, in community.
Section 5: Water use (50-63)
1._____Repair leaky faucets.
2._____Do not let faucet run while doing other tasks.
3._____Use dishwasher only when full.
4._____Do not contaminate water. Use only eco-friendly dishwashing detergent.
5._____Limit use of garbage disposals. Compost food waste.
6._____Install low-flow (aerator) faucets and dish sprays.
7._____Insulate hot water pipes.
1._____Replace automatic flush systems with sensor, use-based flush system.
2._____Use hand-motion sensors on faucets.
3._____Repair leaky faucets and toilets.
4._____Install low-flush toilets or composting toilets.
5._____Install low-flow (aerator) faucets.
6._____Insulate hot water pipes.
1._____Eliminate constantly running drinking fountains.
2._____Repair leaking fountains.
Outdoor church property
1._____Landscape with native grass and plants that require little or no water.
2._____Turn a church lot into prairie.
3._____Put in rain gardens to absorb runoff.
4._____Landscape to absorb runoff. Avoid bare areas.
5._____Use mulching mower.
6._____Mulch trees, shrubs, flowers, and gardens.
7._____Eliminate/minimize pesticides, herbicides, and toxic fertilizer.
8._____Limit watering lawn. Water at dusk or dawn. Do not water during droughts.
9._____Use a rain barrel to collect for watering.
10.____Use down spouts to distribute water for watering plants and absorption.
11.____Install a roof-top garden.
12.____Install a grey water system for watering lawn and plants.
1._____Install permeable surface for parking or walking area.
2._____Limit size of paved surfaces or eliminate with gravel and wood chips.
3._____Provide spaces in the parking area for trees and ground absorption.
Section 6: Green cleaning products (65-70)
1._____Use eco-safe cleansers for restrooms, kitchen, dining areas, and other surfaces.
2._____Use eco-safe detergents/soaps/cleaners for dishes, hands, windows, communion vessels.
3._____Use eco-safe cleaners/shampoos for carpets, tile floors, hardwoods floors.
4._____Use eco-safe waxing products for floors.
5._____Use eco-safe products for cleaning church vehicles.
6._____Use eco-safe detergents for washing cloth napkins, towels, and paraments.
Section 7: Food choices (71-80)
1._____Provide healthy food for snacks and meals.
2._____Purchase organic, locally grown food.
3._____Purchase Fair Trade products where feasible.
4._____Have a vegetarian potluck. Educate about the environmental impact of meat.
5._____Sponsor a world hunger meal with beans and rice or other solidarity food.
6._____Become a drop off point for Community Supported Agriculture. Encourage members to participate.
7._____ Plant a community garden to share with local food banks.
Section 8: Transportation (71-80)
1._____Install bike racks. Encourage walking to church.
2._____Give information about public transportation.
3._____Organize car pooling for church events.
4._____Purchase/ use a van to transport people to church.
5._____Reward pastors and other church workers for using high-mileage cars.
6._____Designate car-free Sundays or months for worship.
7._____Each month have someone check/correct tire pressure of cars in the parking lot.
Section 9: Indoor air quality (89-94)
1._____Test for asbestos, lead, formaldehyde, radon.
2._____Address issues of mold, mildew, bacteria, and dust mites.
3._____Avoid volatile organic compounds from certain cleaning products, furnishings, fabrics, carpets, and paints.
4._____Provide open windows for air circulation.
5._____Put selected plants indoors to serve as air purifiers.
Section 10: Nature inside and out (95-98)
1._____Plants inside: entrance, near windows, at the altar, around the baptismal font, in the office, in the narthex and other gathering spaces.
2._____Bring other life into the church: an aquarium, hamsters, birds.
3._____Ceate an indoor herb garden.
4._____Create an outdoor worship space or place of prayer.
5._____Create a tree sanctuary or memorial garden with benches.
6._____Be creative about the planting of trees, shrubbery, ivies, and flowers.
7._____On an open lot, create a prairie or a small preserve or an orchard.
8._____Use memorial funds and gifts to dedicate trees and natural spaces.
Section 11: Recycling and waste (99-110)
1._____Find out the recycling system in your area for all items. Aim for 100% recycling.
2._____Assess what you buy and the packaging involved. Avoid Styrofoam. Pre-cycle!
3._____Consider reuse as option one.
4._____Recycle office paper (after use of both sides). Recycle newsprint and other paper.
5._____Recycle glass, plastic, steel cans, and aluminum cans.
6._____Consider a convenient recycling center in the church for cell phones, printer cartridges, household batteries, eye glasses, plastic bags, and gym shoes.
7._____Use biodegradable plastic bags for garbage.
8._____Compost food and yard waste.
9._____Have property committee or youth periodically assess church waste stream.
10.____Provide recycling information to members for home use (including toxic disposal).