Lutheran Center Scores High with Energy Star

by Mary Minette, ELCA director for environmental education and advocacy
In November, The Lutheran Center on Higgins Road in Chicago, which houses many of the staff who work for the ELCA’s churchwide ministries, received word that it had been certified as an Energy Star building by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Energy Star is a program that recognizes significant energy-saving measures. To qualify, an applicant must show energy savings over a set period of time and must receive a score of 75 or higher. The Lutheran Center achieved a score of 92, which means that the building uses 35 percent less energy and generates 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than similar buildings across the nation. The energy saved is more than just good stewardship of God’s creation — it’s good stewardship of financial resources in the form of lower utility bills.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the ELCA is only the second U.S. denomination to get Energy Star certification for its headquarters building! The building’s management achieved the energy savings through measures like installing more energy-efficient lighting during a building remodel several years ago and adding motion sensors for lighting in conference rooms, copy rooms and bathrooms. Building managers also added variable speed drives to the building’s HVAC system so that they can be run at lower speeds, and replaced the building’s outside sign with an efficient LED version. And when the building needed a new roof, it was replaced with a more energy-efficient version.  [Excerpted from Living Earth November 2012 Reflection.  Read the full blog post.]