ECOFaith Santa Barbara
ECOFaith Santa Barbara is building on the growing awareness among faith-based institutions to care for creation and advances the local and national movement to building more sustainable communities. This will require unprecedented cooperation between all sectors of government, business, education, nonprofit organizations, science, and religion. Our program helps solve the local need by bringing together key public, private, and nonprofit community resources, and partnering with local, regional and national faith-based coalitions that are undertaking environmental work to help our community achieve the objective of reducing carbon emissions and becoming more environmentally sustainable. We provide the tools and the expertise to help congregations make a profound shift to sustainable practices and building efficiencies as effectively and quickly as possible.
Our project recognizes the particular promise of faith-based institutions joining this collective environmental effort to significantly reduce carbon emissions and develop sustainable practices. We also have designed our program to respond to the particular challenges faith-based organizations face. Faith-based institutions generally are not eligible for government funds to help weatherize or retrofit their buildings even though they often act as community centers, providing meeting space for non-religious organizations. Moreover, many of these buildings are decades to centuries old, so the needed retrofits and repairs for energy efficiency can be significant. The fact that many congregations are on a limited budget makes the likelihood of retrofitting buildings and re-landscaping for water and resource conservation even more challenging.
ECO Faith Santa Barbara offers a unique and practical program to these faith communities. We identify a team of energy experts who assess, record, guide, and refine the steps needed to become, ultimately, carbon neutral or zero net energy. While there are a growing number of local, regional and national organizations that provide resources on-line, the information can be overwhelming to busy clergy and congregations. We assist in sifting through information and opportunities that range from utilities rebates to the latest in retrofitting design; we assist the congregation in developing educational materials; and, we bring in speakers to educate and inspire congregations to go green. None of the statewide or national faith-based environmental groups provide the actual energy audits and detailed plans to retrofit specific faith-based buildings, which distinguishes our project from the others. Our project provides real energy-saving results.
Our team of energy and architectural professionals provide expert assessments, plans and budgets for retrofitting faith-based buildings and grounds. In many cases, only by having such energy retrofit plans in place can a faith community qualify for the kinds of rebate and other programs that are offered through utility companies. In most cases, faith communities do not have the time, nor the money, to assemble on their own a team of energy experts to do this work; we help them do this.