Environmental Stewardship

Energy Star BannerGood Shepherd has a history of proactive activity focusing on environmental stewardship issues. An early energy audit in the 1990s suggested changes to the church building which resulted in improved energy conservation practices. In 2011, the Winneshiek County Energy District program, which promoted sustainable energy use, completed a site assessment of Good Shepherd. After receiving their report, the church hired an approved contractor to meet requirements, overseen by a congregation member. Recommendations to install additional weather-stripping around doors and to add insulation, especially in several ceiling locations, were followed. As a result, the church received the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star certification in 2013.

The church is also participating in the Energy Stewards Program sponsored through the ELCA and the Northeast Iowa Synod. Starting in 2012, worked with an energy steward to reduce energy consumption 5% for 10 years. Other interior efforts to be good stewards of the environment are recycling of all recyclables, use of LED lights throughout the building and ”green” cleaning products.  The use of paper or plastic cups or glasses is avoided and cloth towels and dish towels are used as much as possible. Motion sensors have been installed throughout the building. Thermostats are programed on a schedule to reduce unneeded heating and cooling. A programable water heater has been installed in the kitchen.  High density foam insulation has been installed under the new membrane roof over the Fellowship and Sunday School areas.

Solar panels were installed on the Annex in June 2017 to offset electricity costs.

Environmental stewardship extends to the outdoor landscape as well. The Congregation Council formally adopted a policy several years ago that no herbicides or pesticides be used on the church lawn and landscape beds. Periodic review by the Council has affirmed this policy. Drainage away from the church building has been improved with the excavation of earth sloping away from the foundation and the use of river rock in landscape beds which touch the building walls.  LED bulbs have been installed throughout the building including outside lights.

During summer 2019, a building remodel project for the church includes a closed loop, ground source, variable refrigerant flow [VRF] heating, venting and air conditioning [HVAC] system connected to the Fellowship Hall and Education Wing.   VRF units work only at the needed rate allowing for substantial energy savings at load conditions. Energy savings of up to 55% are predicted over comparable unitary equipment.  This also results in greater control of the building’s interior temperature by the building’s occupants.