Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Coffee Maker Offers $800,000 in Climate Change Grants

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is encouraging organizations to apply for grants to help respond to climate change.
Green Mountain Coffee will award four $200,000 grants, each payable over five years.

The grants will be part of Green Mountain Coffee’s campaign, “Changing Climate Change,” which includes operational changes, employee incentives to reduce carbon emissions and buying carbon offsets.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Have Faith in Green Building

What Would St. Francis Build?
From Green Source Magazine

In the late 1990s, the Felician Sisters in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, members of a Franciscan order, began planning a building project.

The Felician Sisters are heirs to the Franciscan tradition of caring for the natural world, and their vows of poverty encourage conservation of energy and materials as well as money. Despite these values, green building was not on their radar when they embarked on their building plan. But when Sister Mary Christopher Moore, one of the convent’s leaders, happened upon a newspaper article about the LEED-certified Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (among the first LEED buildings), she was intrigued. She brought the article to a meeting with Nettleton and the convent’s building committee, and a consensus quickly developed that green building should be part of their plan.

The Felician Sisters embody the trend toward an increasing interest in green building among religious groups. Fletcher Harper, who heads the interfaith environmental organization Green Faith, speaks regularly with congregations involved in building projects, and tells them that the only financially responsible way to build is to build green. But, he says, those with fiduciary responsibility for religious organizations tend to be risk-averse. They often assume that green building comes at a premium price, and frequently underestimate the savings that may be reaped over the life of a building. Furthermore, some politically conservative congregations may respond negatively to the idea of green building on ideological grounds, rejecting anything that smacks of environmentalism, Harper says. He also finds that many congregations use an informal process to choose an architect—going with someone a member knows, rather than putting out a request for proposals—and may not even bring up green building goals until the architect has been hired. By that time, he says, “the train’s left the station.”