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A workshop will help churches learn how to save on their utility bills. (Fred Flury/The Elkhart Truth)
Workshop to help churches learn to save on utility bills

Posted on Jan. 28, 2014 at 12:33 p.m.

GOSHEN — The “Using Energy Prudently” workshop for church congregations will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Feb. 1 at Waterford Mennonite Church.

Topics at the workshop will include savings on utility bills, step-by-step tools for cutting energy use and social networking other congregations looking to save energy. Attendees will hear the story of an Indiana congregation that saved nearly $9,000 on annual utility bills.

During the workshop, facilitators will also provide information about solar power grants available to some local churches.

$217,000 worth of grants is available for eight to 10 congregations through Indiana Michigan Power for solar panels.

H-IPL is in charge of administering the grants, which will even out to about $21,000 per congregation.

Hirschland said applicants for the grants have to be customers of I&M Power.

Congregations must commit to reducing their electricity and natural gas use by at least 25 percent from their base year.

They must also have at least a third of their congregation’s households reduce their electricity and natural gas use by at least 14 percent.

A final stipulation is the contribution of matching funds towards the installation of the panels.

Hirschland said congregations are expected to contribute $17,000 towards the installation of the panels.

She said, though, that H-IPL is willing to work with congregations that do not have the means to meet the matching total.

H-IPL is hoping to include up to 20 different faith traditions in the program by the time they’re finished, but denomination will not necessarily be a hindrance to acceptance into the program.

The event is sponsored by Waterford Mennonite Church, Merry Lea Environmental Center and Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light.

Waterford Mennonite Church is located 2 miles south of Goshen College at 65975 S.R. 15, Goshen, Ind. Questions should be directed to Madi Hirschland or Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light at 317-654-1524 or