for this program:
HISTORY OF THE ENERGY STEWARDS PROGRAM
(Originally known as Wisconsin Interfaith Energy Stewardship Collaborative)
Warren Gaskill and Kevin
Little, founders of Rapid Improvement Associates, met with our
board of directors at one of our meetings in Sun Prairie
in late 2002. Warren and Kevin had experience in working on developing
an educational model built around "collaborative methods" and
used it first to audit tree farms to save money and be sustainable.
At the time, they had another program with Chicago schools.
Somehow Warren and Kevin heard of WICCC, and came to us and suggested
that their method/program could be useful for us, and that some congregations
might want to do what Madison Christian Community was already doing
using Kevin's computer program tied into their electric meters. Ideas
exchanged at that meeting developed into the Energy Stewardship programs
that followed. Our name at the time was WICCC (Wisconsin Interfaith
Climate Change Campaign).
A general meeting was held in Lake Mills at the United Methodist
Church. We invited every congregation we could think of that might
be interested in such a program. The plan got strong affirmative
support at this meeting.
Instead of launching a big statewide program, without any real
funds to back it (Focus on Energy stated they were unable to help
us), we decided to do a pilot program of Rapid Improvement's model
applied to some local congregations. We set up a fee program to
try to make it self-funding, but Warren was largely doing it on
a volunteer basis. Warren collected data from participating congregations.
The next year a second round with the congregations was carried
out (see list below). We could not offer all the services and benefits
that Franklin Energy/Focus on Energy offered in later programs.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Our Beginnings - 2003 - 2004
A Wisconsin Energy Stewardship
Pilot Collaborative began in 2003 from April to December. It was
titled: Implementing Environmental
Stewardship in Wisconsin Religious Congregations. The purpose was “To
test use of a collaborative learning model with Wisconsin religious
communities, April to December 2003. We will help your communities
promote better use of energy as a first step to more sustainable
building operations and design.” - (Rapid Improvement Associates,
Warren Gaskill was the overall supervisor who designed and ran the
site, did ongoing contacts with the participants and a lot of followup
Dave Steffenson publicized the program mainly through writing cover
letters to congregational judicatories and providing addresses of
congregations under WICEC’s name. Warren led the educational
workshops while Dave taught the religious basis and other information
he knew, especially what might be done beyond congregations. Kevin
Little did much of the writing for the program. WICEC provided its
name and reputation.
March was used for “prework” to
gather baseline data from participants. A full-day Joint Work Session
I was held on April
5, 2003, from 9 to 4 PM. Joint Work Session II was held in December
of 2003. Results were published in the spring of 2004.
Wisconsin Interfaith Climate and Energy Campaign;
Wisconsin Green Building Alliance;
Rapid Improvement Associates;
Informing Ecological Design; and
Wisconsin Focus on Energy.
Janesville: Asbury United Methodist Church
Madison: Crossing Campus Ministry,
Madison: University Methodist Church/Wesley Foundation
Dousman: Emmanuel UCC - Dousman
Green Bay: GB Catholic Diocese
Stoughton: Stoughton United Methodist Church
Sinsinawa: Sinsinawa Dominians, Inc.
Appleton: St. Therese Catholic Church
Colgate: Zion United Methodist Church
Fitchburg: All Saints Lutheran Church
Stevens Point: Joe Miller
Strang, Inc.: (?) Paul Raisleger
Rapid Improvement: Kevin Little & Warren Gaskill
WICCC: Dave Steffenson
WI Focus on Energy: Rob Everhart
WI Green Bldg. Alliance: Connie Lindholm
KS Consulting: Marty Kleiber
Madison Christian Community: Jeff Wild & Tom Matthews
• Energy use tracked over time;
• Energy costs ($ and carbon dioxide emissions) tracked over time;
• Member participation in related initiatives in their home and/or
Warren Gaskill helped set up the web site for us and has been the
lead teacher and operator of the web site and feedback program since
then. Warren and Kevin Little basically invented the collaborative
During 2004, it appears that the program continued for the same
congregations listed above.
Recognition for this program:
• U.S. EPA Energy
Star Program, r2004
Congregation Award Winner St. Therese Catholic
Church, Appleton (one of four recipients nationwide,
along with Madison Christian Community)
• National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Programs “Success
Stories” (one of five named)
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
After our efforts to run a successful program for a couple of years,
the program expanded when We Energies mostly took over the program
after contacting WICCC to form a three-way partnership which was
carefully organized through the efforts of board member, Rich Bogovich.
WICEC had a meeting with (Connie Lindholm?) a We Energies VP about
our shared concerns for extending high efficiency measures to congregations.
She came back with a proposal that stated that even though We Energies
knew we actively and publicly opposed their Oak Creek coal plant,
we both felt we could work together without co-opting each other.
So we agreed to redesign and expand our piloted program to co-sponsor
it with We Energies and offer it widely in their service area.
We Energies got approval from the Wisconsin Public Service Commission
to do this joint program. They were able to used our joint effort
to meet some of We Energies’ required efforts toward Green
Energy. In return, from We Energies we got real money to develop
the program. Focus on Energy had rejected us several times because
we didn't fit into their bureaucratic model.
We Energies hired Franklin Energy to do all the leg work and provide
the services and gadgets to local congregations, as well as connect
local congregations to Focus on Energy funding where it applied.
At that time Rich Bogovich began working part-time for Franklin Energy
but not in relationship with WICEC. All of the meetings we had with
Franklin Energy, Rich was in the middle, but he was wearing a WICEC
We Energies provided the
funding for Warren, while Kevin got to install his auditing devices
at several congregations. We Energies
paid WICEC for the services we provided which was our name and sponsorship
as co-sponsors with We Energies, we also provided mailing lists and
contacts, we wrote the cover letter, and we developed the brochure
used with congregations. Dave Steffenson was a co-teacher in the
initial seminars. We Energies provided the funds, overall sponsorship
and their name, and they did the actual mailing to all the congregations
in their service area under our cover letter. We Energies hired Franklin
Energy, which already was linked to Focus on Energy, to carry out
the program. Anthony Taylor was Franklin Energy’s main contact
person along with another person. Franklin Energy’s role was
major because they did the actual registration signups for the initial
workshops, they provided gadgets and information from FOCUS, they
went out to the participating congregations and did the energy studies
and advised them, and basically operated the details. Warren Gaskill
also designed the website and documents for continual ongoing monitoring
of what local congregations were doing, and he kept the details and
There were several workshops
in Milwaukee, Racine, and perhaps one in Kenosha. There was some
interest from non-profit organizations
such as YMCAs. So we included them. Focus on Energy already had a
Schools Program elsewhere. Warren continued doing followup through
the web site and kept the statistics. A major focus was faith groups
in the inner city with low income. We also had some more Mosques,
though the Islamic Society of Milwaukee and Masjid Al-Qur’an
were in the earlier pilot program.
Near the end of that period, with Rich Bogovich doing most of the
contacting, we had individual meetings with MG&E and Alliant
Energy, to see if they would duplicate what we did with We Energies
in their respective service region. Both expressed interest and
commended our program, but they decided they did not want to do
that then. They evidently had other plans for meeting their state-mandated
goals. So we put it on the shelf, while Warren continued working
with the congregations signed into the website, and I (Dave Steffenson)
think he did one more workshop on his own for congregations in
the Fox Valley (which is not in the We Energies electric service
area, but it is in their gas area).
2005 Energy Stewardship Collaborative
In a letter dated December
23, 2004, plans were made for an 8-month collaborative. Dave Steffenson
was “coordinating the event
for the WICEC.” The first joint meeting session was on January
16, 2005, in Madison - participants were asked to gather data on
their buildings’ current condition and energy use, survey installed
equipment and track their energy bills over the past year or two.
“In a pilot stewardship collaborative last year, one church
and school in Appleton saved as much as 20% on their energy use by
just paying attention to the basics,” noted Warren Gaskill,
senior partner at Rapid Improvement Associates, a partner in the
collaborative. “The success of this one church inspired the
work of all the others. They learn a lot from each other.”
The collaborative participants signed up include:
McFarland, WI: McFarland Lutheran Church,
Madison, WI: First Unitarian Society,
Sinsinawa, WI: Sinsinawa Mound Dominican Center,
Brookfield, WI: Trinity-Pilgrim United Methodist Church,
Monona, WI: Lake Edge Lutheran Church,
Milwaukee: A-Qur'an Foundation,
Milwaukee: Islamic Society of Milwaukee,
Milwaukee: St. Sebastian Church,
Milwaukee: Congregation Anshai Sfard Kehillat Torah, and
Stevens Point: Frame Memorial Presbyterian Church.
“The program fee
for the 8-month collaborative will be as follows: Up to 200 members
- $200; 200 to 500 members - $300; over
500 members - $400. This includes all materials and support throughout.”
Islamic Society of Milwaukee,
McFarland Lutheran Church,
St. Sebastian Parish,
Lake Edge Lutheran Church,
First Unitarian Society,
Congregation Anshai Sfard Kehillat Torah,
Frame Memorial Presbyterian Church,
Wisconsin Interfaith Climate & Energy Campaign,
Rapid Improvement Associates
• An October 2005
update indicated that 62 items were listed on their Energy Stewardship
2005 Action Check List.
• There were 33 participants at the 2005 session.
In the final update report titled - “Wisconsin Interfaith Energy
Stewardship Collaborative 2005” - there was a questionnaire
1. Participant Progress Reports:
2. Discussion: Suggestions to Strengthen the Collaborative Intent & Increasing
Odds for Greater Gains if Offered Again:
3. Collaborative 2005 Evaluation Comments Received
• What was the best part of this collaborative?
• What could be improved if it is offered again?
• What is your estimate for the amount of energy (electric or natural gas)
consumption that you have reduced monthly energy bills during this collaborative?
• What was the effect of the collaborative framework on progress at your
• Any other comments?
* * * * * * * * * * *
At the wrap-up session
of the Wisconsin Interfaith Energy Stewardship Collaborative 2005,
a member of a pilot collaborative and Pastor
Jeff Wild from Madison Christian Community stated that: over the
past several years their congregation focused on “use of renewables,
reducing use and changing behavior” which has “resulted
in cutting energy use by at least 40% and (they) expect to reduce
it another 10 to 20 percent through the congregation’s ongoing
awareness.” The congregation was designated by the Environmental
Protection Agency as one of four Energy Star Congregations in the
country. Their efforts have helped attract new members to the congregation.
Recognition for several programs during 2005:
Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton joined the Wisconsin Department of Natural
Resources (DNR) and Wisconsin Partners for Clean Air at their Clean
Air Extravaganza to celebrate the accomplishment of Wisconsin businesses
and organizations that have taken voluntary actions to improve air
quality in the state. The event took place at We Energies headquarters
in downtown Milwaukee and was attended by CEOs and other representatives
of Wisconsin Partners for Clean Air organizations, and other federal,
state and local officials. One of the winners was the Wisconsin Interfaith
Climate and Energy Campaign for organizing workshops and using other
outreach tactics to inform congregations and the public of ways to
reduce energy and fuel consumption, supporting a program in India
that produces fuel from tree oil to run equipment in local villages,
http://www.wisconsinipl.org/carbonoffsetprogram.htm and supporting
the diesel school bus retrofit program. See the award at http://www.wisconsinipl.org/awards.htm
FROM 2006 ONWARD
In December 2005, Energy Stewards I launched its Energy Savings
Program in conjunction with We Energies, the Wisconsin Interfaith
Climate and Energy Campaign, Franklin Energy and Rapid Improvement
On February 14, 2006, an agreement was signed between Franklin Energy
Services and Wisconsin Interfaith Climate & Energy Campaign (WICEC)
Franklin Energy was contracted by We Energies to perform services
and social non-profits.
Franklin Energy did most of the work in the program itself as a
contractor for We Energies. They arranged for the incentives, and
The goal of the program was to bring awareness to the religious
and non-profit communities of the potential energy, financial and
environmental savings currently available though upgrading existing
equipment to more efficient systems, equipment and practices.
Since that time the collaborative has expanded tremendously in the
part of Wisconsin, which is We Energies’ service area. Incentives
by We Energies and Focus on Energy.
WICEC’s founder and long time leader, Dave Steffenson, continued
to serve as WICEC’s representative and all of the Wisconsin
Interfaith Energy Stewardship Collaboratives.
ANNOUNCEMENT IN MARCH OF 2007
Energy Stewards Project
Energy Incentives from We Energies
Customer: 34 religious congregations and non-profit organizations.
Project: Energy Stewards 1
Estimated total project costs: $1.3 million
Estimated savings achieved: kW: 247.8; $/year: $119,000
Therms: 101,964; $/year: $101,964
CO2: 835 tons/year.
Source of lead: Wisconsin Interfaith Climate and Energy Campaign
Date completed: December 2006
2007 recognition for additional Stewardship activity:
In addition to WICEC cosponsoring
the Collaborative, Huda Alkaff, a member of WICEC’s board
of directors promoted a new program. During October 2007, the 1st
Annual Wisconsin Interfaith Energy Awareness
Month, the Islamic Environmental Group of Wisconsin and WICEC met
their goal of obtaining 100 household pledges to use energy efficient
CFLs. They helped to empower a saving of 84,600 kWh of energy, $7,868,
and prevented 122,700 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. You can
see the Energy Star Certificate of Achievement at: http://www.wisconsinipl.org/awards.htm
2008 recognition for another Stewardship activity:
Again, in 2008 In celebration
of the Second Annual Wisconsin Interfaith Energy Awareness Month
(October 2008), the Islamic Environmental
Group of Wisconsin in partnership with the Wisconsin Interfaith Climate & Energy
Campaign helped to empower an estimated saving of 286,040 kilowatt
hours of energy, $41,400, and prevented 539,170 pounds of greenhouse
gas emissions! See the Energy Star Certificate of Achievement at:
2009 still more recognition for Stewardship activity:
In celebration of the Third Annual Wisconsin Interfaith Energy Awareness
Month (October 2009), the Islamic Environmental Group of Wisconsin
in partnership with the Wisconsin Interfaith Climate and Energy Campaign
helped to empower an estimated saving of 189,348 kilowatt hours of
energy, $27,747, and prevented 356,186 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions!
2010 Energy Stewards Program in action:
Several new workshops are being carried out during 2010 at First
Unitarian Church in Brookfield on April 13th; First Congregational
Church of Port Washington on July 21st; Appleton area congregations
on August 31st; Kenosha area on September 14th; and Racine on October
5th. Other workshops may be planned.
2010 WICEC becomes WIPL:
On January 13, 2010, Wisconsin
Interfaith Climate and Energy Campaign (WICEC) became Wisconsin
Interfaith Power and Light (WIPL) http://www.wisconsinipl.org as
the 31st state interfaith organization to affilitate with the nation-wide
Interfaith Power and Light (IPL) http://interfaithpowerandlight.org/.
IPL “advocates for clean energy, conservation and responsible
stewardship of Creation in response to global warming” which
our group has done since 1999.
What is Stewardship?
Stewardship is everything you do once you've said 'yes' to God." It's
not just about money or giving. It includes every choice you make
- including how you will impact the world and its resources.
As good stewards, we are responsible for our property as well as
our choices and actions. Religious facilities are as much a part
our ministries as people, religious services and programs.
Yet, in proportion to the amount of use, on average, religious buildings
waste more energy than any other kind of structure in America. Many
of our buildings were built long before we were concerned about global
warming, air pollution and resource depletion. Now we know better
and are building more efficient, greener, buildings. But many of
our congregational "homes" have not caught up.
We encourage congregations to take concrete steps to respond to global
warming by signing on to our “Congregational Covenant” at
not as a separate program, but as part of their ongoing stewardship
education and commitments. In addition to increasing energy efficiency
at your facility, the Wisconsin Interfaith Energy Stewardship Collaborative <http://www.wisconsinipl.org/energystewardship.htm> includes
a component for small groups in each congregation to examine their
own family lifestyles and take positive actions to model better stewardship.
Future for Energy Stewardship Collaboratives:
Through contacts by Rich Bogovich, WICEC made several attempts to
interest MG&E and Alliant utilities to set up a similar program
in their service areas, but to no avail so far even though they both
complimented us. There is also a possibility that Focus on Energy
would be willing to provide incentives to establish a statewide Interfaith
Energy Stewardship Collaborative.
Dave Steffenson is now retired from WIPL (formerly WICEC). Rich
Bogovich is now employed full-time with Franklin Energy, and is a
certified LEED analyst and has done some work for Franklin with congregations.
It is up to present and future board members to see that this program
continues and expands to other parts of the state.
[Information compiled on February 24, 2010, based on files from
Warren Gaskill, memory recollections from Dave Steffenson and Wayne
Stroessner, information from We Energies websites and other websites.]