Status Report on Net-Zero Project from the Green Sanctuary Committee

For the last several years, based on the Net Zero Carbon initiative from the Green Sanctuary Committee, a small group of dedicated members of the Building & Grounds Team (Thank you Tom, Gary H, Gary L, Steve, Bob D,, Bob F., Andy, Roger, George, Martin & Rick!) have been working on upgrading the energy efficiency of People’s Church. Everyone has heard about the addition of the solar array on the roof, but that is far from the whole story.
The insulation in our walls has been upgraded, room by room as part of the renovation; air leaks have been fixed as they have been uncovered; light fixtures have been upgraded from incandescent to LED bulbs; new pumps and pipe insulation has been added to the hot water heating system, ventilation in the commons has been im-proved, and many other details addressed as they have been discovered. This is a progress report on those efforts, including an update on the output of our solar array.
Walls have been re-insulated, and wallboard replaced and painted all the way around to the Southern wing of the old building (rooms 1-8, and 10). This work was temporarily stopped when a serious problem was discovered in the nursery. But these upgrades have had a significant impact on our energy consumption, as well as sprucing up the old spaces. And they will continue as labor time and materials costs are available.
The results have been very significant:
Our natural gas consumption over the last 12 months (April 2023 through March 2024), shows a 16% reduction compared to the 2017-19 baseline (pre-solar installation, pre-Covid closure) through these efforts!
Our electricity consumption in kilowatt hours, due both to the solar array addition in 2020 and the other efficiency improvements, has been reduced by 39% since the baseline!
The improved building performance has resulted in a “Cool Congregations” award from Interfaith Power and Light, a $1000 prize in the planning category, also from Inter-faith Power and Light, and a $500 award from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. This wonderful performance has not been widely publicized among People’s Church members and friends!
Based upon current budget levels, we are realizing an estimated net re-duction of $4,000 in annual utility costs. But the job is not yet done! The remaining walls need to be completed, we need to pay off the purchase price of the solar array, and many other details are still awaiting treatment. We also hope in the future to convert our HVAC systems to all electric heat pumps, and per-haps add to the solar capacity as part of our long-range Net Zero Carbon initiative.