You’re familiar with the expression, “Too many chiefs and not enough Indians?” It can certainly feel that way when it comes to green design and certification programs as they are many and varied. However, there is one of these “add-ons” that we’re happy to see building momentum, and that is the GreenFaith Leadership Program.
Unlike most other green rating programs, which focus on residential and commercial buildings, this one is dedicated to helping religious and spiritual centers make a more dedicated effort towards environmental protection. When you think about the cavernous design of most synagogues, churches, and places of worship, you can see why a movement like this can have a noticeable impact on their collective energy consumption.
The group was founded by Jewish and Christian leaders who wanted to connect their diverse congregations via a common interest – the environment. While the original incarnation of the New Jersey-based GreenFaith Leadership Program commenced in 1992 as a grassroots project, the program has gained momentum throughout the past decade. Since then, GreenFaith Leadership has launched several initiatives to raise awareness and inspire religious institutions to make the environment and sustainability major themes in their teachings and educational outreach.
This includes programs like Light the Way, which facilitates the installation of solar panels, as well as others, like Sustainable Sanctuaries and the Green Flag, GreenFaith Schools Pilot Program. In 2004 they started a GreenFaith Certification Program that, “provides diverse congregations with a roadmap for religious-environmental engagement, and the support and resources to succeed.”
It is the first religious-based green design and certification program of its kind in the world. Programs like this make a difference. Consider Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, a large Reform congregation in South Orange, NJ which has decreased its electrical usage by 14% without exceeding its maintenance budget to do so. These types of changes, and a new way of looking at how public spaces consume energy, are integral to the protection of our environment.
Would you like to implement green design principles into your next synagogue, church or spiritual facility design? Schedule a consultation with Leslie Saul & Associates Architecture and Design and we can help you earn your GreenFaith Certification.