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Catholic Covenant Energies

Catholic Covenant Energies is a brand new program that provides an opportunity to respond more fully to the challenges of Laudato Si' by working with Catholic dioceses and other entities to dramatically reduce energy use in Catholic-owned buildings. Consider this: there are over 70,000 buildings owned by the Catholic Church in the United States. What a witness it would be to parishioners, students, and those we serve to see that by reducing energy consumption in those buildings we can to put those savings toward even more efficiency and conservation projects and important mission activities, and to see this activity as a way to honor the Creator by caring for creation and caring for the poor!

We are pleased to announce that the Catholic Covenant Energies program has just launched to do exactly that. With the full support of Archbishop Dennis Schnurr and his top staff, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has agreed to be the pilot program diocese for the rest of 2016 and into 2017. In his letter encouraging pastors to join the effort he said:

The goals will be to help your parish reduce energy use, saving money on utility bills, and through these concrete measures educate parishioners about Laudato Si' and encourage them to do likewise in their homes and businesses. As Pope Francis said, "[O]n the national and local levels, much still needs to be done, such as promoting ways of conserving energy. These would include . . . encouraging the construction and repair of buildings aimed at reducing their energy consumption and levels of pollution" (LS, 180).

There are three key components to the program:

  1. "Free and Low-Cost Incentives:" To work with local utility companies, energy services providers, and other partners - including Energy Star's Portfolio Manager and the U.S. Green Building Council - to benchmark energy use, audit buildings, and take advantage of programs and incentives that these partners provide to begin generating immediate savings.
  2. "Retrofit Program:" To provide financing - for select parishes - for projects that are more expensive but can be paid back over a short time frame through the savings that are generated. For example, a parish campus may wish to do a complete lighting retrofit with LED lighting or install sophisticated controls. 
  3. "A Teachable Moment:" To highlight authentic Catholic teaching on caring for creation, caring for the poor, and the promotion of the common good to encourage parishioners, students, and parents to consider how they might also reduce their carbon footprint and rise to the challenges of Laudato Si'.

As the program unfolds in the months ahead, we will be highlighting stories and successes and looking for opportunities to expand the effort. For parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, please sign up below for either the basic energy savings program or the energy retrofit program.

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