Episcopal News Service reports:
Members of the Diocese of Vermont's Earth Stewards Committee accepted an Environmental Merit Award from the New England Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at a ceremony at Boston's Faneuil Hall on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22.
The annual EPA awards recognize "outstanding environmental advocates who have made significant contributions toward preserving and protecting our natural resources," according to a letter from Curtis Spaulding, director of the EPA's New England Office.
A 2007 diocesan convention resolution required congregations to conduct energy audits, develop implementation plans for addressing energy inefficiencies, and to report the results to the 2009 diocesan convention. Bishop Thomas Ely appointed an environment committee -- now the Earth Stewards Committee -- to assist congregations in meeting these requirements. The group uses its page on the diocesan website to share results of congregational efforts, as well as resources.
The diocese's church buildings are typically more than 50 years old and are either stone or wood frame with little to no insulation. Vermont Interfaith Power and Light estimated that energy consumption could be reduced by 15-20 percent in churches where opportunities identified in the energy audits are implemented.
"Winning this award is very exciting for us, as it pays tribute to the teamwork of the Earth Stewards Committee that has been built on a 'green' foundation in the Diocese of Vermont," said the Rev. Anita Schell-Lambert, Earth Stewards Committee chair. "This foundation is seen in environmental resolutions over the past few years that underscore our commitment to live more simply and to decrease our carbon footprint one vital step at a time."