Why Green Home?
The Unitarian Church of Hinsdale is a beautiful and historic campus of worship of which we are all proud. However, after well over 100 years serving the our community, the facilities are showing their age and updating our infrastructure is vital. Recognizing that global change begins locally, the Green Home initiative’s goal is to update the church and RE building, not to current standards, but to tomorrow’s standards. By installing solar panels, increasing heating efficiency, properly insulating the RE building, and providing air conditioning, we will be living our seventh principle to bring our campus infrastructure into the 21st Century so that Unitarians may be able to worship here into the 22nd.
Here’s how the specific recommended upgrades will achieve those goals:
- Boilers for both buildings: Both boilers are living on borrowed time, and are woefully inefficient. By replacing the boilers now, the congregation is not only saving money and resources on heating, but are saving future exceptional costs which would be incurred during emergency repairs or replacement.
- RE building roof: The roof of the RE building is already failing and leaking. Continuous repairs are being made to prevent water damage and further leaking, and replacing the roof is a matter of when, not if.
- Solar panels: Installation of solar panels are expected to generate the current combined electricity demands of both the church and RE building. Installation of solar panels reflects the Unitarian/Universalist values we hold dear, while also showcasing the potential of environmentally responsible power generation to our neighbors, as well as making financial sense. For more information, please see “Solar Technology and the Church”.
- Storm windows for the church: The church’s windows are in relatively good condition, and aesthetically appealing. However, installation of storm windows will help reduce air movement into and out of existing windows, helping to reduce heating and cooling costs producing similar savings to window replacement at a lower cost.
- Air conditioning for both buildings: Currently, all air conditioning at UCH consists of old, inefficient window units in some areas of the RE building. Providing more efficient air conditioning to both buildings will not only increase comfort to staff and service attendees in the summer, but will also create additional revenue streams by opening up our beautiful church during the prime wedding season and allowing year-round use of the RE building.
- RE building windows: The RE building currently utilizes single-pane, uninsulated windows with aluminum frames. Replacing them with new, energy efficient windows will improve the comfort and aesthetic qualities of the RE building.
Finally, the congregation is currently operating with a budget which limits the church’s ability to pay for emergency capital expenses. Establishment of a building fund will allow the church flexibility to pay for repairs or renovations which are necessary but fall outside the operating budget or cannot wait for additional congregational approval or capital fund campaigns.