Energy efficiency for nonprofits

Anne BrockOur Town Outdoors

One group makes its way into the small utility room where the main parts of the heat and air system are typically working behind closed doors. Another follows along a brightly lit hallway, discussing the adequate number of footcandles for various uses. One part of the tour takes visitors to a warm attic room where the tour guide describes safety considerations for older heating units. It’s a different sort of church visit for folks gathering over the weekend, when Tennessee Interfaith Power & Light organizes an energy efficiency workshop for congregations.

Gracious hosts at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church plated plenty of bagels and fruit for visiting parishioners from a wide variety of faith groups. The topic: putting faith into action with energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. Talks and tours include statistics and potential savings through conservation measures.

“As people of faith we feel called to be good stewards of creation,” shared the Rev. John Gill of Church of the Savior when explaining that his congregation is already on a journey to evaluate their facility’s energy usage, curb electricity use and eventually add solar.

Attorney and volunteer leader Courtney Shea organized the gathering by Tennessee Interfaith Power & Light. She brought together representatives from Knoxville Utilities Board as well as private energy professionals to educate and present a variety of solutions to saving energy and money for churches.

Demonstrating how light is often overpowering in public settings, when dialing it back can be easy on the eyes as well as the budget, was Jennifer Alldredge, who is a retired program manager from the Alliance to Save Energy. Alldredge, now volunteering with Knoxville Interfaith Power & Light, walked through what energy usage and the way it is billed looks like on a typical utility bill. She explained peaks of electrical usage can sometimes mean extra costs that could be avoided. “There are different strategies you can employ to keep your energy usage more consistent.”

Whether interested in dollars and cents or simply mindful of environmental stewardship, believers from several different denominations took back sparks of ideas for their own church committees.

The Rev. Gill said he’s encouraged to see other congregations trying what works for them. “Every little thing we do matters.”

To get plugged into energy efficiency in the faith community, contact

Anne Brock is marketing coordinator for, which offers full-service energy evaluations, energy monitoring and start-to-finish solar project management. She can be reached at: 865-221-8349


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