Friday, November 1, 2013

The Krietler Cup Competition is underway! Thanks to the interest and encouragement of our loyal alumnus, Peter Krietler, we are entering a friendly “green” competition and collaboration with his boarding high school, The Loomis Chaffee School. Each school will strive annually to increase energy conservation and reduce waste. We begin by learning from each other, taking a baseline of each school’s efforts and current energy consumption, and then making steady improvements. 

The response at VTS has already been strong. Over 20 students, staff, and faculty are already involved. Seven of us travelled to Connecticut to see Loomis Chaffee School and learn what they were doing – Dave Mutscheller and Steve Slominski (Buildings and Grounds), Carol Kyber (Communications), Elizabeth Bentrup (Welcome Center), Kristin Saylor and Chris Hamby (M.Div. students) and me (faculty).

Like many schools and universities, Loomis Chaffee is working toward more environmentally sustainable energy use. We met with “environmental proctor” students and staff who gave us a tour of the campus highlighting their green initiatives. From a new LEED-certificate-worthy building and a campus “co-generator” for both heat and electricity, to replacement of all lightbulbs and installation of hydration stations at every water fountain, to recycling competitions, composting from the dining hall, and vegetable gardens with chicken coops, the campus has embraced a “we can do better” spirit. They are already a bit more organized than VTS, with a sustainability mission statement for the school.

We left enthusiastic about both Loomis Chaffee and VTS. We have a LEED-Certified faculty residence, a LEED-certificate-worthy heating and air conditioning plant, and a LEED-gold chapel being built. We have been replacing lightbulbs and are installing movement-sensitive light switches in public buildings. We are slowly improving insulation and heating in faculty homes. We are recycling and (thanks to student Jackie Bray) reducing our junk mail. This year, we will gather stories of our efforts so far, and we will calculate data on our consumption and waste. From there, the competition will begin. But, even now, there are ways we all can do better! This is now a part of our life and ministry here at VTS, and will be in the churches and communities we serve.

The Rev. David T. Gortner, Ph.D.
Director, Doctor of Ministry Program
Professor, Evangelism and Congregational Leadership