March 7, 2014
Recognizing that nonprofit and faith-based organizations frequently miss opportunities to make their facilities more energy efficient, the Community Foundation of New Jersey, along with the George A. Ohl, Jr. Trust, the Steven and Mary Birch Foundation and the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, have provided funding to support the launch of the Energy Services Program. In 2014-15, this pilot project will equip 100 of the state’s non-profits to conserve energy and lower their carbon footprint by becoming more energy efficient and utilizing renewable energy supplies.
“The organizations we support do important work on a shoestring budget,” said Community Foundation of New Jersey President Hans Dekker. “This program will help them reduce their operating expenses and their greenhouse gas emissions. In a challenging economic climate for the state’s nonprofits, that is critically important.”
The program is administered by GreenFaith, a New Jersey nonprofit which has helped hundreds of faith-based groups save energy, become more energy efficient, and access financing for renewable energy projects. The organization is expanding to provide energy services to nonprofit groups.
The average facility can reduce their energy use between 15-25% through these services. For every $20,000 in energy costs, participating institutions would save $3,000-$5,000 annually.
Participating organizations receive a comprehensive array of energy services. Facility staff receive energy management training, learning techniques which enable many nonprofits to reduce their energy use between 5-10%. GreenFaith connects participants with state or utility-approved contractors who audit the nonprofit’s HVAC and lighting systems and provide access to state or utility rebates that can cover 70-80% of the cost of efficiency retrofits.
GreenFaith also evaluates each participating institution for a zero capital-cost solar array that would generate thousands of dollars in savings annually. Finally, each participating organization receives a quote from a third-party supplier of renewably generated, fixed-cost electricity, at a price lower than most utilities. “These services enable most organizations to reduce their energy costs substantially,” said Anne Rahikainen, Energy Services Program Director. “They represent an important opportunity for groups that provide vital services in their communities.”
This project represents an extension of the Community Foundation’s long-standing commitment to New Jersey’s nonprofit sector. “The Foundation supports organizations that address issues of health, education, the arts, children, animal welfare, and a range of social services,” said Dekker. “Many of these organizations have sizeable facilities. We want our grant funds to have the greatest impact possible. By saving energy, these groups will have more resources to carry out their work.”
To enroll, nonprofit groups complete a simple enrollment form, create a 3-member Energy Team which will oversee program efforts at their institution, and pay a one-time registration fee of $100. To learn more about the Energy Services Program or to enroll, contact Anne Rahikainen at email@example.com.