SOUTHERN VIRGINIA: Parish is first Episcopal church to win Energy Star rating

April 29, 2010

While more than 3,800 buildings in the United States have been awarded an Energy Star rating for superior energy efficiency, the first Episcopal church to win such a rating is St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Newport News, according to a news release from the congregation.

St. Andrew's is part of the Diocese of Southern Virginia.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star is the symbol for protecting the environment and signifies that the building performs in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency.

"St. Andrew's is pleased to accept EPA's Energy Star in recognition of our energy efficiency and sustainability efforts," the Rev. Dr. Robert D. Marston, St. Andrew's rector, said in the release. "Through this achievement, we have demonstrated our commitment to environmental stewardship while also lowering our energy costs."

"This achievement is a step on our path of caring for God's creation," said Patty VonOhlen, chair of the parish's Creation Care Committee.

The committee was formed three years ago by church members to bring attention to how everyone can improve the earth's health through practices in their daily lives. St. Andrew's improved its energy performance and sustainability practices by involving all members of the congregation and staff -- in its gardens, its worship buildings, and in its Andrew's Day School, according to the release.

The vestry has worked to identify and approve cost-effective improvements to church and school buildings over the past five years, rather than just accept the cheapest choice of the day. "These difficult decisions have benefited life on earth, as well as saving costs in the long run," the release said.