Utilizing the Faith-based Community to Create a Green and Healthy City

The Green Faith Initiative is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) made possible through a grant from the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) awarded to GREEN DMV to launch an interfaith environmental education program for faith-based communities. The city-wide effort engages the faith-based community around sustainable practices that conserve energy and create healthy communities.

There are over 1000 faith based institutions in the District of Columbia. GREEN DMV engages faith-based institutions and houses of worship in the District of Columbia to host energy conservation workshops and other educational programs focused on the benefits of energy conservation and operating in a sustainable manner. The Green Faith Initiative also educates faith-based institutions on free energy related services and incentives available to DC residents through the District Department of the Environment.

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Energy Efficiency

Historically, houses of worship have been the anchor in many communities as well as a beacon of hope and leadership. Through sustainability, houses of worship can make a profound impact in demonstrating how communities can come together to uplift themselves by embracing energy efficiency.

Houses of worship can save money on their energy costs by implementing low and no-cost energy saving solutions in their buildings. Outside of the building, congregations can implement these same cost effective solutions in their residences to save money, allowing them to contribute more to the needs of their faith-based institution.

Urban Food Deserts

According to a report to Congress prepared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, assessing the extent of limited access to affordable, nutritious food, approximately 2.3 million households in the United States are more than a mile from a supermarket and lack access to a vehicle. The physical distance from full service supermarkets leaves residents of these areas to be more likely to purchase food from convenience stores or corner shops that stock mainly cheap, processed foods or foods high in fats and sugars.

DC faith-based institutions can begin to address the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables by developing programs within their facility which promote healthy eating habits or partner with local farmer's markets to make fresh foods available to their communities. Faith-based institutions can begin to change attitudes towards healthy eating and eradicate a long history of unhealthy eating habits in many communities that they serve.

Green Jobs

The Green Faith Initiative will educate faith-based institutions about green job opportunities. GREEN DMV's partnership with DC District of the Environment can help their congregations gain access to information about green job opportunities and training programs that will prepare them for employment in the clean energy economy.

Faith-based institutions can connect green job training programs to their existing workforce development programs, designed to help members of the congregation and community most in need. According to the Environmental Leader report, the most recent green jobs projections suggest the total U.S. green jobs are predicted to grow to 1,388,600 by 2015. These projections are a signal that economic relief may be on the way for many in DC residents that seize green job training opportunities which lead to green careers.