The Earth Justice Ministry is inaugurating a series of “Green Hero” articles in which we will be highlighting the contributions of individuals at UUCP in their efforts to make the world a more sustainable place. To start out, we will focus on UUCP itself.

We want to express appreciation to the people who have envisioned and implemented “green” projects, especially those who have served as members of the Property Teams, Construction Teams, and Congregational Administration.  Also, to the Green Sanctuary Committee (2007-2010) and Earth Justice Ministry (2016-present) who have kept environmentally responsible concepts in the congregation’s awareness.

Dale Fisher, of the current Property Team, graciously provided information about the improvements our congregation has undertaken. Our efforts at sustainability reach back for years.  In the early 2000s we changed out disposable flatware and dishes in favor of reusable ones of stainless steel, ceramic and glass.  In 2006 a dish sanitizer was purchased to be used after hand washing of dishes to assure sufficient cleanliness.

In order to reduce our energy use, windows in the main building and in the annex were converted to double-pane insulated glass from 2008 to 2010.  Then, in 2011 – 2012, during upgrades of the restroom facilities, we switched to low-flow faucets and toilets. We also converted to foaming soap dispensers which use much less soap and water than liquid soap dispensers.

Changing incandescent light bulbs to LEDs has resulted in the most significant benefit.  In 2016 we converted 58 such bulbs in the lobby, offices and hallways. Similarly, in 2017 the sanctuary ceiling lights were changed from 75-watt incandescent bulbs to 14-watt high-performance LEDs. The power we use for lighting was reduced by 80% due to these improvements. Elsewhere on the UUCP campus we are putting in LEDs as the existing fluorescent bulbs burn out.  Additionally, these LED bulbs are rated to last up to 20 years.

The effort continues.  The current Capital Improvement project replaced our heating and air conditioning equipment.  The old equipment used gas and lots of water. We have eliminated gas from our property entirely, cutting it off at the street.  The new all-electric configuration was chosen for its efficiency and improved controls.  We also replaced our old gas range with an induction range in the kitchen which is both safer and more efficient.

Finally, we are enlarging the shaded area outside the Johnson Room, sheltering the glass doors from summer heat.  This new patio design includes several trees which will provide a more comfortable environment.  Planters will line the pathway to the sanctuary and will encircle the sanctuary itself. A fenced-in area is designated for children to plant and care for a garden.   The redesign of the upper parking area will also serve to direct rainwater to a retention basin located to the South on the lower part of our property.

UUCP has made a lot of progress over these past years. We look forward to incorporating additional sustainable technology in the future.