Greening Sacred Spaces: Inventory

Wesley United Church Buildings, Grounds and Practices

DRAFT Overview

What we have accomplished, what we need to focus on

Analysis of situation: background facts, problems, needs

Apr. 2, 2012 – by Dan Beveridge (information from Ivan Patton and others);

updated May 28, 2012

General principle

To practice energy and water conservation in operating the building and in upgrading facilities, and to facilitate 4 R practices (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover) by the congregation, with the intention of decreasing our environmental impact (ecological footprint), decreasing our economic costs, and fulfilling our faith covenant in caring for and living with respect in God’s creation.

Note: The present Wesley United Church building was dedicated in 1962.

Lighting and electrical appliances

Most lighting fixtures have been upgraded to be more energy efficient. In 2008 and 2009 Donna and Stan Barber changed the west hall and south hall lights from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFBs) and the kitchen lounge pot lights also to CFBs. Fluorescent tube fixtures in the kitchen, classrooms and offices were fitted with new plastic lenses/covers. All lighting is controlled by switches and is turned off at night.

Most recent lighting upgrade is the chapel and chapel lounge with CFBs – expected pay back to be 12-14 months.

Considering motion sensory in men’s washroom. Women’s washroom more complicated with outside switch.

The church regularly runs 3 computers and one photocopier, and there are two other computers for casual use. It is assumed these computers are turned off at night.

Heating system

A new, energy efficient heating system was installed about 2006, replacing most parts of the old system. The system now has seven furnaces: six new high efficiency AC furnaces mounted on the roof (two for the sanctuary, one for the kitchen and kitchen lounge, one for the chapel, chapel lounge and two washrooms, one for the main hallway & two classrooms, one for the office area, library & small classroom) replacing two old furnaces. One old furnace still exists off the choir loft which was put in when the choir addition was added to the building (about 1984). All furnaces have their own programmable thermostats. Each furnace is programmed for its hours of use. Normally the minimum-maximum temperature setting is 16 degrees at night (or when not in use) and 20 in daytime for areas used. The choir loft furnace is kept lower than the others to have the heat movement come from the more efficient furnace in the sanctuary. Glenn Schmuland monitors the natural gas consumption, can monitor run time by furnace over a week; he has records for both natural gas and electric power consumption for about five years.

The furnace system is equipped with air conditioning but it is used mainly in the office area, rarely in the sanctuary.


The plan is to upgrade both washrooms for improved water conservation. One low flow toilet was tested a few years ago but was not satisfactory.

Water heater is leased (under contract with Heath) – future activity is to look into the efficiency and cost of upgrade within contract.


The kitchen runs two natural gas stoves and has one newer (energy efficient) refrigerator. In the back room is one old refrigerator (used only occasionally as backup) and one older freezer. The dishwasher is older, not sure about efficiency.


Currently a domestic (family size) garbage container is emptied weekly by the city. Since this is too small, a Loraas garbage bin is also required, to be emptied once a month. Used paper towels from the washrooms make up much of the volume.

No Styrofoam cups or plates are used in the church. Ceramic cups are used for coffee and when needed biodegradable (potato based) saucers may be used for particular occasions.


The church has three batch compost bins which yield compost to spread on the flower gardens in early spring. The church building is bordered on three walls by narrow strip flower gardens and surrounded by a lawn with several small trees. When the lawn is mowed during the summer, the clippings normally are left to decompose in the lawn. When the clippings are too long, they may be collected and dumped in the compost bins. Some members have contributed bags of dry elm leaves in the fall which are beneficial to the compost mix. Church coffee grounds are dumped into slop pails near the rear door, which are then dumped into the compost bin.

At one time we had a church garden of three 10 ft. x 10 ft. plots in the west lawn, growing tomatoes (one year) and native prairie flowers and grasses; these were discontinued (due to lack of labour for maintenance).

Encouraging 4 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover)

  • Annual “garage” sale fosters reuse of donated items and earns $5000 a year.
  • Barrels collecting beverage containers for recycling at SARCAN earn $250 a year.
  • Projects collecting used eye-glasses, hotel shampoos, soaps, etc. for reuse at Transition House, etc.
  • Regular collecting of items (food containers, egg cartons, clothing) for reuse at Carmichael Outreach

Worship and Education

  • We have had worship and educational events dealing with climate change, including a 100 mile church lunch.
  • We endorsed the Earth Charter at a congregational Annual General Meeting in 2010.
  • Plans for a paperless service June 10, 2012
  • Commitment to maintaining a Green Team; increased communication updates on the website as well as contribution of green articles to the Wesley Word.


  1. Upgrade all windows. These have never been changed though vinyl inserts are on some windows.
  2. Upgrade all doors. Consider an airlock or vestibule at each main entrance.
  3. Consider alternate water heating for the kitchen: currently the water heater is in the old furnace room behind the caretaker’s closet, so the kitchen water must flow a long distance and run a while to get warm.
  4. Consider sensors taps in washrooms, especially with increase children’s use.

Other Areas for consideration

  • Consider doing a formal or informal energy audit (cf. Lakeview UC, where the resulting changes made resulted in large energy cost savings).
  • Consider different drying options in the washrooms if that is main source of garbage for Loraas Bin
  • Cleaning supplies? Dishwasher detergent, etc.?
  • Indoor Air Quality (use of plants, new products with low VOCs)
  • Green Procurement Policy
  • Sustainability and Environmental Policy