Greening of Lutheran Social Ministry Organizations

Reports from the Field

If you have a report to give or a story to tell about greening your social ministry organization, please submit it to Brad Roos at Thank you!

Illinois:  Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (energy reduction)                       Read the story.

Practices, retrofits, and energy management at our various programs and sites that have enabled us to better conserve both electricity and natural gas and reduce related costs. We have worked with US Energy, our Energy Management firm out of Minneapolis, over the past several years on the auditing of our energy bills and with them for the procurement of our energy needs, both electrical and gas. To date they have reduced these costs on an agency-wide basis by over $250,000 annually (2009 was first year). We also have worked with Commonwealth Edison for lighting retrofits at our larger facilities such as St. Matthew Center for Health in Park Ridge (a long-term care facility), P.A. Peterson Center for Health in Rockford (also a long-term care and rehabilitation facility) and our Central Services Office in Des Plaines to go with more efficient and cost-effective green lighting.

Recycling practices of both paper and aluminum products that have resulted in making us better stewards of the environment.

Cintas is a vendor we work with to recycle paper at various LSSI sites and locations. We are beginning to look at aluminum recycling throughout the agency. The Cintas award we received in 2010 for our green efforts [in 2009] indicate that as an agency, we saved 285 trees, 34 barrels of oil, 117,355 gallons of gas and 50 cubic yards of land fill.

Since using an Energy Management company we have saved about over a $100,000 annually in energy costs.

Institution of agency-wide green awareness program, providing ideas to help employees become greener in their daily activities, at work and at home.

Implementing technology that reduces the amount of car/plane travel previously necessary. Such technology includes mobile communication, teleconferencing, video conferencing, webinars, etc.

Jo Ann Dollard
Director of Communications and Public Relations Lutheran Social Services of Illinois
1001 E. Touhy Ave., Suite 50
Des Plaines, IL 60018

Illinois:  Zion Development (energy-efficient lofts).                         Read the story.

Massachusetts:  Lutheran Social Services of New England (virtualization).         Read the story.

Lutheran Social Services of New England decided two years ago to implement virtualization as a strategy to reduce Total Cost of Ownership. Virtualization leverages hardware which allows multiple virtual servers to run on one physical piece of hardware. In research that we have done, costs for cooling and power average $1000 per server, per year while consuming over 6000 kw of energy. In phase one of our initiative we were able to reduce our physical servers from 12 to 2 saving us $10,000 per year. This equates to an environmental impact of planting 188 trees or removing 11 cars off of the highway. As part of our fiscal year 2012, we intend to double our virtualized infrastructure to achieve similar results.

Martha Lindberg Mann
Vice President, Communications & Marketing
Lutheran Social Services
888 Worcester Street, Suite 160
Wellesley, MA 02482

Our Agriculture program in both Worcester and West Springfield is most definitely green – farming and gardening.

Ashley Carter

Agriculture Program Specialist

Lutheran Social Services

51 Union Street

Worcester, MA 01608

Minnesota: Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota (LEED building; photos).             Read the story.

We have a fabulous example in the new “Center for Changing Lives” in Minneapolis that combines human services, affordable housing and a faith community on one campus. Opened in 2008, it’s visionary, eco-friendly and cost-effective:

Part of our vision at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota is that all people can live and work in community with safety, dignity and hope. Building green means building with healthier, long-lasting and high quality materials, and offering a healthy environment for the people we serve and our employees. From rooftop to sidewalk, this new Center is LEED-silver certified and specially designed to:
  • Increase energy efficiency with unique reflective roof materials and window technology
  • Reduce water consumption with low-flow fixtures
  • Use recycled building materials that are purchased locally
  • Encourage a sustainable environment by being on a bus line and including built-in bike racks, showers and preferred parking for fuel-efficient cars
  • Save money with features like rain gardens that save $7,000 a year in storm sewer fees
Messiah Lutheran Church, Kaledoscope for Kids, LSS (three anchor partners), Hennepin county/city of MPLS – 48 units of affordable housing, 10 for people with chronic homelessnesss … attached to Center for Changing Lives (long-term housing for 10 people?)

Contact Person:
Jeri Nelsen, Executive Director,
Center for Changing Lives:

North Carolina: Lutheran Services for the Aging – North Carolina (green lighting/building practices).             Read the story.
Nearly everywhere you turn at Lutheran Services for the Aging, there’s something green going on. From recycling programs in each building, to environmental upgrades for construction, thinking green is now a fundamental part of the Lutheran Services for the Aging culture.

John Frye, construction manager and the future administrator of Lutheran Services for the Aging’s new Lutheran home in Wilmington, said that going green can also save some green. “Right now, Progress Energy, the power provider for the eastern part of North Carolina, is offering a number of very significant credits to new construction customers,” he stated. Lighting, HVAC systems, motion detectors, occupancy sensors—incorporating energy efficient upgrades will allow us to take advantage of those credits now, and to soon reap substantial savings in the day to day operation of the new building.”

Green has also become the color of choice at existing Lutheran Services for the Aging ministries, especially at Lutheran Home - Hickory where Maintenance Director David King is the King of Green. According to Amber McIntosh, Lutheran Home - Hickory administrator, David’s efforts to incorporate “green” features on sprawling campus have been extraordinary. She said, “In addition to the use of CFL (compact fluorescent lighting) bulbs throughout the building, David has switched to solar lighting outdoors wherever possible, added water conservation devices to toilet and shower remodels, installed programmable thermostats and occupancy sensors when appropriate, and has instituted an ambitious recycling program to manage everything from cans and cardboard to yard waste and scrap metals.”

These small, but meaningful steps to go green demonstrate Lutheran Services for the Aging’s commitment to positive change and to nurturing and protecting and the planet.

Mary Ann Johnson
Director of Community Relations
Lutheran Services for the Aging
1416 S. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
P.O. Box 947
Salisbury, NC 28145

Pennsylvania:  Liberty Lutheran Services (green projects).                     Read the story.

Pennsylvania:  Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries                       Read the story.
In response to Diakon’s efforts to reduce paper usage in 2009 (“Think before you print”), there was a 15.78% reduction in paper usage, resulting in 1,500,564 fewer sheets of paper being used, saving $9,003 in paper costs and $12,005 in copier costs, for a total savings of $21,008. In addition, in 2009, Diakon recycled approximately 100 tons of cardboard and paper, through the use of recycling bins at all facilities.

The Rev. John C. Richter
Vice President, Church Relations
Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries
798 Hausman Road, Suite 300
Allentown, PA 18104

Washington:  Lutheran Community Services Northwest (LEED building).                 Read the story.
Washington:  Peace Community Center (and Peace Community Lutheran Church - Sunday garden table)           Read the story.

Wisconsin:  Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan (recycling bags)                   Read the story.

Lutheran Social Services (LSS) of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan initiated employee-led workgroups in 2009. The Green Team and Wellness Team have led several “green” efforts throughout the agency. The Green Team initiated efforts to encourage recycling. The Wellness Team chose to focus their efforts on program gardens in 2011. Through a competitive process, the Wellness Team awarded 9 programs funding to start or expand a garden. Each program submitted proposed goals for the 2011 growing season.

These goals included

  • Reduce food waste, by harvesting what can easily be consumed in a few days
  • Increase clients’ access to fresh, locally produced fruits and vegetables
  • Educate clients about the benefits of gardening and local produce
  • Create a compost bin to provide soil for next year's garden and reduce the amount of waste the program produces

At the end of the growing season each program will report back on the results of their garden and their responses will be used to further improve gardening efforts in 2012.

Natascha Malkemes

Director of Marketing & Communications