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ESI Invitation 2015

Energy Stewards Initiative

A Sustainability Program for ELCA Congregations and Camps

Sponsored by Lutherans Restoring Creation



Energy Stewards Initiative (ESI) is a one- to two-year program for ELCA congregations and Lutheran Outdoor Ministry sites. It is designed to help your congregation or camp:

  • Reduce your energy use
  • Shrink your carbon footprint
  • Save money for mission and ministry.

ESI is a nationwide program of Lutherans Restoring Creation, carried out in cooperation with Rapid Improvement Associates of Madison, WI. The features of the program will enable you to:

  • Track their energy and water use online
  • Follow an action plan
  • Engage in bi-monthly webinars featuring energy experts
  • Benefit from the wisdom of program leaders and co-participants
  • A limited number of no-interest loans are available from a revolving loan fund

Each congregation or camp appoints an Energy Steward to be the point person in the program and to work with a team to make changes. Over the first two years of the program, active congregations have reduced their energy use and related costs by 10% on average. To date, six ESI congregations qualify for ENERGY STAR certification as a house of worship and four have received the ENERGY STAR label.

ESI is “an example for denominations and other faith-based groups who really want to make a difference in congregational cash-flow back to the ministry from energy costs and to preventing pollution that threatens human life and health,” says Jerry Lawson, national manager for EPA’s ENERGY STAR for Congregations. “It is one of the few energy stewardship programs in the country that actually facilitates and documents concrete achievements in saving energy, saving money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Ken Westlake of Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Arlington Heights, IL says that “ESI has helped our congregation focus on energy and water use in a systematic, organized way. We've long been concerned about being good stewards of God's creation. ESI gives us some important tools to quantify how we are doing and where we can improve.”

The fee is just $120/year to cover the online services, and scholarships are available. To learn more about ESI and to apply as a congregation or outdoor ministry site, visit the Lutherans Restoring Creation website at www.lutheransrestoringcreation.org and click on the “Programs” link on the top drop-down menu. To express your interest, send an email to Peter Bakken at pwbakken@gmail.com (for congregations) or Todd Garcia-Bish at leep@lutherlyn.com (for outdoor ministry sites).

The deadline for applications for the 2015-2017 ESI program is May 15, 2015.