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Christ Episcopal Church Receives GIPL Grant

The Rev. Dcn. Leann Culbreath presents the grant check to Senior Warden Nikki Yarbrough (left) and Rector Rev. Dave Johnson (center).

Christ Episcopal Church in Valdosta was awarded a GIPL Energy Efficiency Matching Grant to support in-house energy efficiency upgrades. After receiving a GIPL energy audit, the congregation learned that there was significant energy loss in one of the oldest and most used buildings on campus. By adding insulation to the attic, the congregation is expected to save $1,000 per year in energy costs, and the payback time of the project will only be two years. Christ Episcopal was awarded $1,000 to complete the insulation upgrades.

The matching funds for this project were raised from church pledges, and the parish pledge drive dinner served as an opportunity to begin discussing Creation care as a means of expressing love of the Creator. The congregation hopes that this project will provide a concrete way to continue this discussion. In addition to the insulation upgrades, Christ Episcopal minimizes disposable dinnerware products, supports the development of a diocesan ecology center, and has dedicated green space with public access.

Congratulations to Christ Episcopal Church on their commitment to energy efficiency and Creation care! We look forward to seeing this congregation continue to grow in their efforts. The next matching grant application deadline is November 15, 2017. If your congregation has not yet received a GIPL energy audit, visit our website to sign up today!

Athens First United Methodist Church Receives GIPL Grant

Athens First United Methodist Church was awarded a GIPL Energy Efficiency Matching Grant to support lighting upgrades in the sanctuary to LED fixtures. They received $3,964 for these upgrades. This project will save approximately $1,000 per year in energy savings, and more when factoring in the savings on light bulb purchases.

After receiving a GIPL energy audit in the summer of 2016, Athens First UMC decided that upgrading their lighting fixtures would allow them to have more money to serve the community and church members. They also applied for a Georgia Power Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate to help fund the project. The congregation is hopeful that these upgrades will demonstrate the financial and environmental benefits of using less energy.

Congratulations to Athens First UMC on their commitment to energy efficiency! We look forward to seeing how this congregation continues to increase their Creation care and energy efficiency efforts. The next matching grant application is November 15, 2107. If your congregation has not yet received a GIPL energy audit, visit our website to sign up today!

Sightings from the Treehouse: Elements of Climate Change – Ecosystems on the Move

Sightings from the Treehouse is an investigative blog series on climate change and the environment, from GIPL’s Power Wise Director, Bob Donaghue. You can read the firstsecondthirdfourth, and fifth blogs here. 


Nature has evolved over billions of years by adapting to changes in its environment. As life evolved, it filled niches in both the water and then on land. Those species that could not adapt went extinct, such as the dinosaurs, opening up opportunities for mammals to fill many new niches and expand their range, numbers and types. This is known as survival of the fittest, the keystone of evolution. The changes that are occurring on our planet are presenting similar opportunities for species better able to adapt and resulting in decreasing numbers and extinction for those that cannot.  

Ecosystem changes are global in extent and are occurring now. According to the report, Ecological Impacts of Climate Change by the National Academies, two types of ecological impacts are being seen as a result of climate change: shifts in species range limiting where they can survive and reproduce, and changes affecting the timing of biological activities such as breeding or blooming times. They indicate over 40 percent of wild plants and animals that have been studied are relocating to adjust to changing climate conditions. Those plants and animals that cannot migrate, such as polar bears, will decrease in numbers and become extinct.  Seasonal changes are happening 15-20 days earlier for many species, resulting in migratory birds arriving sooner, butterflies emerging earlier and plants blooming earlier. Some other changes include variations in bird migration, and shifting of ocean phytoplankton and fish from cold water to warm water habitats. Over 70 percent of tree species in North America are already migrating with beech, maple, and birch trees expected to be gone from the Northeast by 2100.       Continue reading

Sightings from the Treehouse: Elements of Climate Change – Oceans in Motion

Sightings from the Treehouse is an investigative blog series on climate change and the environment, from GIPL’s Power Wise Director, Bob Donaghue. You can read the posts in the blog series here.


“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are the ocean” (Ryunosuke Satoro, Japanese Poet). Our oceans are under attack in a variety of ways, thus we and future generations are under attack.  As we continue this blog series, let’s explore some of those ways resulting from increased temperatures and melting polar ice and permafrost.

Sea Level Rise

Ocean heating, dilution with freshwater from melting glaciers and its corresponding rise in sea levels are occurring at a temperature increase of 1.9 degrees F (1 degree C) – half the IPPC recommended goal of 3.6 degree F (2 degree C). Sea level rise is one of the calamitous impacts of increased Arctic temperatures. The rise is primarily attributed to the melting of land-based glaciers and to a lesser extent, increasing sea temperatures. Continue reading

St Mark’s Episcopal Church Receives GIPL Grant

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in LaGrange was awarded a GIPL Energy Efficiency Matching Grant to fund a foam attic insulation project completed in March 2016. From the energy usage data already collected since the installation, the church is projected to have an annual energy savings of $600. St. Mark’s was awarded $2,748 for this energy efficiency project.

St. Mark’s incorporates Creation care into their weekly congregational prayers, and from that commitment, actively engages in other Creation care efforts. They recycle, encourage the use of reusable dinnerware, and open their facilities to environmental groups. The congregation has also committed to sharing cost savings with parishioners, and talking about how energy efficiency can save money and the environment both at home and church.

Congratulations to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on their insulation project, and we look forward to seeing what further Creation care and energy efficiency efforts come from this congregation! The next matching grant application deadline is November 15, 2017. If your congregation has not yet received a GIPL energy audit, visit our website today to sign up!

Sightings from the Treehouse: Elements of Climate Change – Ice and Permafrost Loss

Sightings from the Treehouse is an investigative blog series on climate change and the environment, from GIPL’s Power Wise Director, Bob Donaghue. You can read the firstsecond, and third blogs here. 


The most significant impacts of global warming are found in the polar regions, since temperatures are twice as high there compared to the global average temperature. Increasing ice and permafrost melt threaten our globe in a variety of ways. I hope you will read the previous blog on rising temperatures since it forms the basis of our further exploration. It is quite simple: temperatures increase, ice melts and sea levels rise.  The evidence is clear that global temperatures are rising and new records seem to be set each year. What is that doing in our polar areas, the earth’s natural air conditioner?

Ice Melt

Global temperatures have increased about 1.9 degrees F since pre-industrial times, but have doubled in the Arctic during the same period due to a phenomenon called Arctic amplification. In 2016, Arctic temperatures were 6.3 degrees F above 1900s levels. This increased heating due to amplification is leading to tremendous loss of Arctic ice, both glacial and sea ice. This is particularly evident during the summer. The rate of Arctic ice melt is about 13% per decade.  

The albedo effect is when white ice reflects the sun’s heat back into the atmosphere serving to cool the planet, but as ocean ice melts, the dark open water absorbs the sun’s heat and adds to the increased temperatures and thus sea level rise – a positive feedback. Note that “positive” does not mean good but that it simply amplifies rather than dampens (negative feedback) the force of the change. In this case, and with permafrost below, this is bad and could be catastrophic. Continue reading

The Future is Bright for First Baptist in Blakely

First Baptist Church in Blakely, Georgia, was awarded its fourth GIPL Energy Efficiency Matching Grant to upgrade their lighting to LED fixtures. Many energy efficiencies have been incorporated already at this historic church in South Georgia following their GIPL energy audit a few years ago. Now the church is upgrading the old lighting in their kitchen, office and foyer to energy efficient LED fixtures. They received $1,191 in order to implement these lighting upgrades.

First Baptist Church of Blakely has committed to an ongoing LED project to upgrade all of the lighting in the church buildings. Last year, the church converted all of their lighting in the sanctuary to LED fixtures. Their next step is to install LED lights in the education building, and this year to the office, foyer and kitchen. This church has received 3 GIPL grants in the past to help with insulation, LED lighting upgrades, and WiFi thermostats for their buildings. Continue reading

Catholic Churches Will Save Big After Energy Audits

Earlier this year, GIPL received a grant to provide direct support to selected parishes of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta for their Creation care efforts. A pilot project was developed to help nine parishes and three schools increase energy efficiencies and water conservations while helping to reduce their overall environmental impact by 25%.

This project is part of a larger effort by the Archdiocese to respond to Pope Francis’s 2015 Encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si.  In 2016, the Archdiocese published its Climate Action Plan as a hopeful response to the Pope’s encyclical. Continue reading

Jargon Busters: CCR (Coal Combustion Residuals)


Advocating for Gods Creation often requires wading through some thick jargon and decoding strings of acronyms that only an environmental policy maker could love. Jargon busters to the rescue! From time to time, well bustsome of this jargon to make your advocacy work a little easier. Let us know if you encounter words or acronyms that need some busting!


CCR (Coal Combustion Residuals)

No, this doesnt have anything to do with the legendary rock band, but sometimes CCR (Coal Combustion Residuals) is indeed rolling down the river. Continue reading

Sightings from the Treehouse: Elements of Climate Change – Rising Temperatures

Sightings from the Treehouse is an investigative blog series on climate change and the environment, from GIPL’s Power Wise Director, Bob Donaghue. You can read the first and second blogs here. 


Join me on my journey to do a “deep dive” on climate change. I spent many years as an environmental scientist, but recently began to research the topic of climate change to further my awareness of the latest climate science and projections. My primary goal is to develop a better understanding of the likely future and align my faith and actions to improve resilience in myself and in others.  

The first two blogs were about the current administration’s ties to the fossil fuel industry and efforts to obscure and hide the facts about our climate from the public. All of this is led by a few oil companies and the Koch Brothers, owners of America’s smokestack industries, and our current conservative government. The next series of blogs will detail the science and projections for four elements of climate change: rising temperatures, melting ice and permafrost, ocean changes, and ecological disruptions.  The final four blogs will examine opportunities and costs of climate change, our readiness to fight, and finally the role of the faith community.  Hopefully, you are ready to explore with me this real-time threat to humanity and the planet.  Please click on the hyperlinks, there is a lot of information available to swim through. Continue reading