Newaygo County area churches are receiving an average of over $1,000 in free energy saving devices such as LED lights, smart thermostats and water-saving faucet aerators.
Churches begin saving money immediately on their utility bills once these are installed. In addition to these free items, the churches obtain an energy assessment of their building, guidance on steps to take for further energy savings, and assistance with qualifying rebates.
“Light the Way” is a program specifically for houses of worship, and is a partnership between Consumers Energy and Michigan Interfaith Power & Light (Michigan IPL). 3R Environmental Education, a local environmental non-profit organization, is contacting all local churches on behalf of Michigan IPL to bring this state-wide program to Newaygo County.
“We are helping local houses of worship spend less on energy and more on their mission,” states Sally Wagoner, 3R Board Member and Light the Way Outreach Specialist. “This is one of the few actual free programs I know of – no strings attached. Churches get free energy upgrades, a thorough energy assessment of their building, and they begin saving on their energy and utility bills from the get go!”
Michigan utility companies are required to spend a percentage of their profits on energy efficiency products and services for their customers. Churches who have signed up for the program have received an average of $1,000 in free energy upgrades, and can expect to save about $650 on annual energy expenses. That amounts to $1,000 these congregations didn't have to spend on building maintenance, and $650 more each year that can go into programming for kids, supporting local food pantries, and other vital ministries.
3R is providing an easy way for churches and houses of worship to sign up for Light the Way. The only requirements for churches are they must own their own building and have Consumers Energy for gas or electric.
“Over 800 houses of worship across the state have already participated in Light the Way. We will be happy to help any of the congregations in and around Newaygo County sign up for this free program,” added Ms. Wagoner. “We are honored to be working with Michigan Interfaith Power and Light, a statewide nonprofit organization, to bring this great program to our area. Michigan IPL’s mission ‘to inspire and equip people of faith to exercise stewardship of and love for all Creation’ aligns with that of 3R: to promote the environmental beauty and sustainability Newaygo County.”
As this program is on a first come - first served basis, congregation members and leaders are urged to contact 3R as soon as possible.
For information on how your house of worship can sign up for Light the Way, contact Sally Wagoner: sallyw@3R-education.org, 231.924.5822. You can also learn more about the Light the Way program at https://www.miipl.org/light_the_way.