The Rapidian

ENERGY STAR Certification is Newest Climate Milestone for the Christian Reformed Church

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Becomes second denominational building in U.S. to receive certification
Green roof at the CRCNA Office Building

Green roof at the CRCNA Office Building /Wendy Hammond

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In addition to acting locally in its Grand Rapids office, the Christian Reformed Church is partnering with others around the world to make a difference in fighting climate change. 

For example, The Climate Conversation: Kenya video seriesis a chance to move past the white noise and to get up close and personal with the issues of climate change and environmental stewardship. It is a chance to meet people, not statistics; to hear stories, not arguments. It is an invitation to a conversation.

The Christian Reformed Church (CRC) held a press conference last week to announce that its denominational office in Grand Rapids has been awarded ENERGY STAR Certification by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
 
The CRC office, which houses the agencies of the Christian Reformed Church, including World Renew, also houses Access of West Michigan. It now becomes only the second denominational building in the U.S. to earn this designation, with the other being the Presbyterian Church (USA) national headquarters in Louisville, KY.
 
With a score of 97 out of 100, the CRC office stands in the 97th percentile of all office buildings nationwide. ENERGY STAR buildings must meet strict standards that certify they use less energy, are less expensive to operate, and cause fewer greenhouse gas emissions than their peers, according to the EPA.   
 
Along with meeting the EPA’s guidelines, the CRC office was also recognized for a variety of environmental friendly features on its property, including one of the nation’s only certified wildlife habitats on its roof, rain gardens on its lawns, efforts to reforest the area, and work done in conjunction with Calvin College to clean up Plaster Creek that runs behind the building. So far, the CRC has saved $900,00 and reduced the building’s carbon dioxide emissions by over 3,000 tons as a result of these projects.  
 
The effort has been twofold, according to CRC Director of Administration and Finance John Bolt. The CRC has wanted to save energy and costs and at the same time work toward doing its part to be a better steward of its piece of creation. The certification falls in line with the CRC’s 2012 position statement on climate change that both acknowledged the urgency of climate change and called its members and institutions to respond.   
To further carry out this call, the CRC is partnering with CRC congregations across the U.S. and Canada that are also committed to addressing climate change and stewardship of resources. It is hoped that as many as four CRC congregations will also achieve ENERGY STAR certification this year with more to follow.  
 
The CRC’s ENERGY STAR certification is not simply a public recognition that the CRC is saving money and decreasing its greenhouse gas emissions—it is one more way among many that the CRC is striving to better care for creation, address climate change and better love its neighbors, both locally and globally.

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