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First Baptist Church of Orlando Improves Energy Efficiency and Fights Climate Change

Release Date: 09/24/2010
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov

(ATLANTA – Sept. 24, 2010) - The First Baptist Church (FBC) of Orlando has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its achievements in the fight against climate change. FBC has shown that with effective energy management practices and innovative efficiency solutions, it is possible to save money and use significantly less energy to power buildings. FBC is one of nine small businesses and congregations to be honored nationally.

“EPA commends the First Baptist Church for its commitment to reducing pollution through environmental stewardship,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming. “With membership in the ENERGY STAR Congregations Network, the church has shown that smart energy decisions are good for the environment and your pocket."

Since being founded in 1871, FBC has expanded several times, moved from a central city to a 125-acre site in southwest Orlando, grown to 15,000 members, added several buildings, and incorporated The First Academy, a K–12 fully accredited education facility. Energy had not been a large concern when the building was first built, but a changing world and a growing membership have made energy stewardship an environmental and economic priority. In 2007, energy became an increasing concern for the leadership at FBC as utility costs soared. Since that time there has been a 17 percent increase in utility rates when a utility contract with the local provider expired. The church was faced with utility expenses climbing to nearly $1 million annually. By controlling energy costs, the extra funds could be used for domestic, local, and foreign ministries and missions.

FBC’s energy stewardship program hinges on a strong and unwavering support of the pastoral staff and members and support staff that is willing to accept and help promote change. By joining the ENERGY STAR Congregations Network and partnering with Energy Education, Inc., FBC estimates that they are saving nearly $373,000 annually in energy costs for the operation of their worship space. The savings of more than 4.4 million kilowatt per year represents a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions from the annual electricity use of over 300 homes.

The 2010 Energy Star Small Business and Congregations Award winners used tools and resources provided by EPA’s Energy Star program to develop their plans and measure and track their accomplishments. By strategically managing the energy performance of their facilities, these small businesses and congregations cut utility costs without sacrificing features, convenience, style, or comfort while making significant contributions to a cleaner environment.

More about the 2010 Energy Star Small Business Award winners:
http://www.energystar.gov/SmallBizAwards

More about the 2010 Energy Star Congregation Award winners:
http://www.energystar.gov/CongregationAwards