The Energy Star program, a voluntary labeling program for energy-efficient products, has been expanded to cover houses of worship.
Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Other areas it covers include computers, office equipment, residential heating and cooling units, lighting, new homes, and commercial and industrial buildings.
Two early recipients are the UU Congregation of Atlanta and First Parish in Needham, Mass. The Atlanta congregation is the first one in Georgia to receive the Energy Star designation. First Parish is the first house of worship in New England to be so designated. Advocates suggest that many congregations can cut energy costs by up to 30 percent with more efficient equipment, facility improvements and maintenance.