Certified Cool Congregation, 20% carbon reduction
First Universalist Church of Rockland, Maine is situated in one of the coldest states in the northeast. Maine faces Atlantic winds and backs to arctic lows from Canada. This often sets up a perfect storm for frigid winter weather that dips well below zero. It was high heating bills that prompted the board at First Universalist Church of Rockland to investigate how to lower their energy use. Their study showed significant heat loss through the windows. Leaders researched solutions and found that a man from Damariscotta, Maine, had invented easy-to-build thermal window inserts that form an insulating barrier to save heat. Church members built and installed 26 of these window inserts. That action, combined with adding ceiling fans, now saves First Universalist 25% in heating costs every winter.
The project spread to church members who wanted the inserts for their homes, and then to low-income families in the area, who received the inserts free of charge. First Universalist then teamed on multiple community builds with the town of Liberty, Peoples United Methodist of South Thomaston and Oceanside High School, where students provided the labor as a community service project. Volunteers in the effort became known as “window dressers” and the Window Dresser Project is now a non-profit helping to save people money and reduce CO2 emissions. First Universalist has reached out to Quakers, Methodists, Baptists and other denominations to expand this work and its a wonderful example of faith communities working together to care for Creation and help their neighbors.