Hoosiers save big at home

In Bloomington, Indiana, a third of Congregation Beth Shalom’s households have reduced their energy use by at least 14% and/or their carbon footprint to significantly less than half the average for an American household of their size. These reductions fulfill Beth Shalom’s Till & Tend Home Energy Reduction Pledge, signed by 39% of the households and ten of the twelve board members. Beth Shalom promoted energy reduction through: Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light’s Task of the Month Program; scriptural teachings; participatory intergenerational holiday programs; an interactive bulletin board featuring each month’s energy-reducing task; discounted supplies; and monthly newsletter interviews on what members have done and what challenges they face. Teams have been providing weatherizing assistance to household that requests it. Tweens from Christian, Muslim, and their own congregation weatherized the homes of older members, and a contractor worked with Beth Shalom and Islamic Center teens to insulate an attic. By reducing their congregational building’s energy usage by one seventh and equipping and inspiring over a third of their members to do the same, Beth Shalom has become Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light’s (Hoosier IPL’s) first Seventh Day Congregation. Their goal is to help create a tipping point, inspiring more of their members and other congregations in the city and state to follow suit. They have secured media coverage for many of their events and, through Hoosier IPL, will share their experience achieving Seventh Day status with congregations statewide.

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