Unitarian Universalists certified for greenhouse gas reduction

December 2, 2018

The Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware has been awarded a Cool Congregation Certification in recognition of its exemplary efforts to make significant greenhouse gas reductions on the building at 30486 Lewes-Georgetown Highway, Lewes.

Interfaith Power and Light,  a national nonprofit organization promoting energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy to combat climate change, certified UUSD at the 40 percent (or more) carbon reduction level. 

UUSD was able to transform its energy use from oil and grid-based to all electric, with 97 percent of its energy produced by the 28kw of rooftop solar cells provided by Clean Energy USA. Major energy efficiency gains were also achieved with the help of the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility, a nonprofit Delaware organization that offers programs to support energy efficiency, conservation and customer-sited renewable energy.

Dr. Tony DePrima of Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility said, “We were happy to get behind UUSD efforts to save energy by providing them with low-interest loans for their efficiency improvements. I cannot think of a more deserving congregation for this award; they are viewed as a model throughout Delaware.”

John Sertich, president of Clean Energy, said, “Clean Energy USA is proud to be associated with this wonderful accomplishment. We value UUSD’s commitment to the environment and the example they set to the community.”

John Sykes, chair of UUSD’s Green Team, accepted the Cool Congregation Certification on behalf of the congregation. “The Cool Congregations program is designed to support faith communities as they walk the talk by reducing their own carbon footprint, thus helping to cool the planet. A side benefit of the program is the multiplier effect, as congregants are encouraged to model the same energy-saving behavior at home that they see at their congregation. Doing so will bring more voices to the growing interfaith movement that is demanding accountability and leadership from world leaders on behalf of the Earth and the common good. Driven by a common mandate to be good stewards of creation, the Certified Cool Congregations are averaging 42 percent greenhouse gas reductions, showing that where there’s a will, there’s a way,” said Sykes.

In presenting the award to UUSD on behalf of the IPL national headquarters, Lisa Locke, executive director of Delaware Interfaith Power & Light, the Delaware chapter of IPL, said, “We believe climate change is the defining moral issue of our times. Yes, the warnings are dire. But there is room for hope. And the members of the Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware, the first congregation to join Delaware IPL, have once again shown themselves to be a beacon of light – through innovation, collaboration, and determination – leading the way.”

UUSD is a welcoming and progressive spiritual community with a mission to nurture spiritual growth, embrace diversity, work for justice, and strive for a loving world. For more information about UUSD’s environmental program, contact John Sykes at For more information about Delaware Interfaith Power and Light, contact Lisa Locke at

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