Cumberland church preaches energy efficiency

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CUMBERLAND — Strides taken to enhance energy efficiency earned the Cumberland Congregational Church $1,000 in Interfaith Power & Light’s annual Cool Congregations Challenge.

The 282 Main St. church was one of five congregations across the country to receive an award; CCC earned top marks in the Renewable Role Model category. More information on the various categories is available at coolcongregations.org/cool-congregations-winners-2016.

The church last fall hosted a window insert project, through which frames were wrapped on both sides with clear polyolefin. The frames then fit snugly into windows with foam weatherstripping, which reduces heat loss and prevents air leaks.

The CCC around the same time installed 57 solar panels, geared toward covering 85-90 percent of the church’s electricity needs, and dropping its annual carbon footprint by 40,000 to 50,000 pounds.

“We are honored and grateful for this recognition as we realize many faith groups are doing good work to help the planet,” Lalla Carothers of Cumberland, coordinator of the church’s “green team,” said March 15.

It is the first time the church, which a few years ago earned Green Faith Certification, has received such an award. Entering the Cool Congregations contest was a team effort with church member Ira Hartman, Carothers said.

She was not yet sure how the church would use the $1,000, but suspected it would go toward inspiring others to “go solar,” she said.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Lalla Carothers, who coordinates the Cumberland Congregational Church’s “Green Team,” shows an insert used to block the cold and reduce heating costs during the winter. The effort, along with the installation of 57 solar panels, earned the church a $1,000 award in Interfaith Power & Light’s annual Cool Congregations Challenge.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.