Sustainability at Our New Church Building

Energy efficiency and environmental sustainability are major goals of our new building renovation decisions. The Board has stated: We will renovate the South Pennsylvania property in a sustainable, energy-efficient, and fiscally responsible manner. We will use LEED standards and LEED-accredited professionals as a guide and document our success in meeting this goal without pursuing formal LEED certification.  

At a special Board meeting January 14, there was extensive discussion with architects Ken Jones and Sophie Machicoane about the issues involved in LEED certification. Two Board members did research prior to this meeting and had a series of questions about costs and benefits. A decision was needed by the design-development phase in February. We would have to use the LEED standard for new construction, which would require that we replace functional heating units in the RE classrooms and replace all fixtures to use LED lights instead of using CFLs in existing fixtures. LEED certification would cost at least $30,000. Both because of cost and sustainability concerns, the Board decided to "use LEED standards as much as possible and LEED-accredited professionals [including one of the architects] as a guide and document of our success in meeting this goal, without pursuing formal LEED certification."

Many of the decisions related to the balance of achieving sustainability and energy efficiency as much as possible within the constraints of our financial resources are:

• Different parts of the building can be closed off when not used during the week to save energy.
• We will keep using the furnaces in the RE classrooms as long as they are functional and replace them as necessary with more efficient units.
• Flooring material was selected in part because of sustainability and durability.
• We engaged in a contract with Michigan Energy Options (MEO); consultants recommended the most energy-efficient steps for all parts of building, and we are complying as much as possible. MEO will also help us receive rebates for improving energy efficiency.
• We will add recommended insulation when walls or ceiling are under repair.
• We will use LED lights in most rooms where lighting is replaced and will use LED lights on the exterior of the building and the parking lot.
• The renovated areas (sanctuary, social hall, and administrative areas) will have energy-efficient heating and cooling within the constraints of the building construction.
• We are keeping shelves that must be removed to reuse in different parts of the building.
• We are making efforts to recycle and reuse things we don't need (e.g., basketball hoops, scoreboards, lockers).