Green Audits: A great deal for Anglican Churches

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Sue Carson, Greening Niagara Diocese

Across Canada, Anglicans are getting a great deal towards greening their places of worship.

In partnership with our very own Faith and the Common Good’s Green Audit, the Anglican Church of Canada offers dioceses an opportunity to receive a grant to complete a holistic audit of their churches, including energy, water and waste. The Green Audit is competitively priced on a sliding scale, beginning at $800 and moving up with the size and complexity of the building in question. Through the subsidized Green Building Audit Program, successful applicants will receive grants for 2/3 of the cost of the Green Audit to a maximum of $1,000, based on building size.

The Niagara Diocese offers the audit at half the actual cost! There is also the opportunity to receive a Sustainable Capital Improvement Grant from this diocese once you’ve completed the audit.

In Niagara, Sue Carson has been instrumental in setting up and letting communities know about this opportunity. This dynamic, passionate Chair of the Greening Niagara Diocese has been working for many years to make sustainability a priority within the Diocese.

She wrote about the Green Audit experience at her church and that of two other churches for the Anglican Journal (page 11). Her piece has been edited here for the purposes of this blog post.

Sue writes:

At my church, St. James’ Dundas we had six parishioners accompany the auditor for his six hour visit and found the whole experience extremely worthwhile, with time to chat over a lunch time break.

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St. James, Dundas

The completed 34 page report gives us plenty of ideas on how to go forward on upgrading our building in an environmentally sustainable way. We are now upgrading some of our toilets and lighting, and will be applying for a Sustainable Capital Improvement Grant Program (SCIGP) later this year; up to 25% of the cost of upgrades could be awarded through the grant.

Ten Niagara parishes completed a Green Audit and seven successfully applied for funds through the grant.

One was St. John the Evangelist Winona. The Reverend Leslie Gerlofs is very enthusiastic for what it meant to her parish. She says, “The audit was useful for St. John’s, because it gave us a better sense of direction in prioritizing the needs of the parish from a ‘green’ perspective. From the auditor we also learned easy and affordable tips during our ‘walk about;’ items that had not been on our radar.”

She recommends the green audit for two reasons, “One, it provides a roadmap for on-going and future maintenance decisions of the church, while keeping our carbon footprint in the forefront of those decisions. Two, it provides the parish with the ability to apply for a capital improvement grant for items addressed in the audit.”

“At St. John’s we are replacing two very old furnaces thanks to the help of a grant. It is also because of this grant that we are able to add to our replacement costs for new low-flow toilets,” Leslie says.

St. Luke’s Burlington also completed the green audit and applied for the grant.  Michael Skafel, the Green Facilitator, says they had previously done a walk through energy audit and were aware of some needed upgrades. “What the GA did for us was really to help us focus on and prioritize better our ‘to do’ list. A simple example was to get LED bulbs in our exit signs ASAP.”

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Roof Insulation at St. Luke’s, Burlington.

Michael continues, “We knew we needed a new roof, but there was no clear consensus in the parish whether we should insulate. The GA gave us that confidence to examine all the options for our roof rather than just replacing the shingles, knowing that we would be able to receive some financial assistance if we were to insulate (and also meet the requirement of advancing to the next level of Green Parish Accreditation).  In the end, we did choose a system that had significant insulation improvement along with shingle ventilation which should improve the life of the shingles.”

St. Luke’s have since achieved their Silver Accreditation.

Anglican or not, having a Green Audit conducted at your place of worship is well worth your while. For more information on the Green Audit, click here.