The Church of Our Savior in Arlington is one of the five national winners of the Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) 2021 "Cool Congregations Challenge"--receiving the Energy Saver Award for replacing the rectory’s old oil furnace with new heat pumps, annually saving 15 tons of carbon dioxide and $1,700 on its energy bill, according to a recent press release from IPL. The annual "Cool Congregations Challenge" accepts applications from religious congregations around the United States that are addressing global warming by reducing their carbon footprint as they create models of sustainability within their communities.
In 2019, the congregation collaborated with a group of Arlington faith communities and climate justice organizations to host an Interfaith Carbon Fast Supper, and it was the relationships that formed out of this that led the Rev. Malia Crawford, the rector of the Church of Our Saviour, to learn about the "Heat Smart" incentive program to help switch to cleaner heating and cooling systems at a discounted cost.
"Building stronger relationships with our interfaith neighbors enabled us to work for a healthier planet for those who will live in this town a hundred years from now," Crawford said in the release. "We hope it will inspire even more people to work for climate justice.”
Working with Mass Save, the congregation improved the efficiency of the rectory and qualified for a rebate on the heat pumps. They raised about half the cost from current members of the congregation and the remainder came from an unexpected bequest from the estate of a beloved parishioner who had recently passed away.
"Church of Our Saviour is a terrific example of people of faith embodying love of Creation in concrete action, from greening our buildings to advocating for environmental justice," said the Rev. Fred Small, Executive Director of Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light, in the news release. "When a congregation reduces its carbon footprint, it has a powerful ripple effect as members take pride in their achievement and start to wonder what might be possible in their own homes."
“The Church of Our Savior and the other four national winning congregations are casting a vision for the kind of world in which they want to live, and then carrying out that vision with practical actions that make a real difference in creating lasting solutions to climate change,” the Rev. Susan Hendershot, President of Interfaith Power & Light, said in the release.