Subsidized Green Building Audits available for parishes

Creation Matters, the environmental working group of the Anglican Church of Canada, has partnered with Greening Sacred Spaces to offer a program subsidizing “green building audits” for parishes.

Faith and the Common Good—The Green Building Audit aims to reduce the impact of parishes on the natural environment by helping them find easy, cost-effective ways to make their buildings more sustainable and find significant savings.

Priced on a sliding scale that starts at $800, with increases based on the size and complexity of the project, the Subsidized Green Building Audit Program offers a grant to successful applicants that covers two-thirds of the cost of a green audit to a maximum of $1,000.

In exchange, parishes must agree to host a public information seminar on energy efficiency with Greening Sacred Spaces and provide one year’s worth of energy consumption data to establish a baseline for other parishes to compare their performance improvements.

Enthusiastic beneficiaries of the Green Audit program include two Ottawa churches, St. James the Apostle Church and the Church of St. John the Evangelist.

Following the audit recommendations, St. James installed a rain barrel to help cut water consumption, as well as a composter. Meanwhile, a parish team began exploring opportunities to link the “big picture” audit findings to enhancing mission work.

Though long believing that Christians are called to be stewards of creation, the Rev. Monique Stone noted that “the audit was like an awakening. We actually have to do something about it!”

At St. John the Evangelist, church members created a “to-do” list based on recommendations from their green audit.

The parish now seeks to weather-strip doors and windows, as well as caulk and seal around equipment that affects the building envelope. Plans to revamp the lighting system by installing timers and sensors are also underway.

Going forward, its Green Team plans to upgrade insulation, replace old exterior doors and single-paned windows with Energy Star models, deal with leaks, and promote education and awareness.

“I would say it was a great experience to have the auditor come and have us follow him around,” Building Committee member Bob Green said.

“He would observe…each of the different rooms, what could be done, and point out a number of things we literally hadn’t thought about.”

On the East coast, St. John’s Anglican Church in Crapaud, P.E.I., brought in energy expert Stephen Collette from Greening Sacred Spaces to conduct a Green Audit in January 2015.

Accompanied by church staff and parishioners, Collette evaluated St. John’s for energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, daily operations, and maintenance.

He then delivered 40 pages of recommendations, including tips for more efficient furnace operation, building upgrades, caulking leaks, data on oil and electrical use, and steps to reduce consumption. As a result of the audit, St. John’s has installed low-flush toilets and insulation around the floors, and is considering further improvements.

“It was well worth what we paid,” the Rev. Margaret Collins said.

Collected stories of all 2014 green audits are available online.

Those interested in applying should complete the Green Building Audit Support Application Form and submit it via email to Greening Sacred Spaces. Grant recipients will be selected and audits scheduled in discussion with the applicant.

The deadline for applications to the Subsidized Green Audit Program is June 30, 2015.

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