Green Sanctuary

Green Sanctuary

Environmental sustainability is not the work of a few committed individuals or a committee, but the entire church community. Together, we must work to build awareness, generate commitments for lifestyle changes, motivate community action, build a connection between spiritual action and environmental conscience, and build awareness of and rectify social environmental injustices.

We are fully committed to the 7th UU Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. In 2008, we were certified as a Green Sanctuary by the UUA, after completing the twelve projects and related activities included in our Green Sanctuary application.

As a Green Sanctuary, our many goals include:

      • sustaining and improving our green church environment,
      • developing educational materials,
      • maintaining a community garden,
      • serving as a recycling center for newspapers and plastics;
      • connecting congregants with green lifestyle information, and
      • inspiring environmental action.

Green Lifestyle Information:

Your Home Recycling Transportation Food Appliances

Green Links

  • Health by Design is a local coalition focused on making Indianapolis’ neighborhoods more walkable, bikeable, and designed in ways that reduce dependency on cars and promote public health.  The organization participates in community events and advocates at the local and state level for policies consistent with its mission.
  • Signing up for Green Power is easy!  Anytime is a good time to sign up for green power, a program where consumers make clear to their power company that they want electricity from lower polluting sources such as wind and solar power.  If you are an IPL customer, you can sign up on-line or contact Glenn Livers at 317-261-5632 or Glenn.Livers(at)  If you are not an IPL customer, contact your power company.

Environmental Sustainability Committee

The UUI Board has created a standing committee, the Environmental Sustainability Committee (ESC), whose purposes are to increase environmental stewardship in church operations; encourage and assist church members and the neighboring community to do the same; and educate church members, friends and neighborhoods about environmental justice and sustainability issues, consistent with UUI’s membership in the Earth Charter.

The Committee plans and implements ongoing efforts to reduce UUI’s footprint, to educate the congregation and to assist them to be greener in their own lives. Environmental activities are also initiated by other committees and individuals within the congregation.

If you have an idea for a project or program, please contact the Environmental Sustainability Committee.

Environmental Stewardship

In addition to the activities of the Environmental Sustainability Committee, we believe that to be truly effective, principles of environmental stewardship need to be integrated into day-to-day church operations, not just the purview of a focused committee. Therefore, in 2009, all UUI committees included language in their Charters that directs them to consider environmental consequences in their decision making.

Community Leadership

UUI is very proud of its efforts to share the Green Sanctuary process and what it has accomplished with other faith communities in central Indiana. We conceived and hosted the first two Green Sanctuary workshops in Indianapolis and continue to be a leading participant in an ever growing group of local congregations active on these issues.

Green Accomplishments


  • Advocated for preservation of the old growth forest within Forest Hills Cemetery


  • Applied for and received Green Sanctuary accreditation by the UU national association


  • Held numerous neighborhood cleanup events
  • Provide recycling for church community for batteries, CDs/DVDs, high number plastics, print cartridges, CFL lightbulbs, cell phones and medicine bottles
  • Expanded and maintain community garden on church grounds
  • Held event for recycling computer components
  • Provided an Abitibi bin on site for church generated paper, for church members and for the neighboring community


  • Conducted three surveys of congregation for environmental awareness and practices
  • Held movie series on environmental topics
  • Developed bibliography of books and movies for children on environmental themes
  • Incorporated environmental stewardship at all levels of our Religious Education program
  • Include information in every issue of our monthly bulletin on environmental topics
  • Provide additional environmental information on the our website
  • Hosted first city-wide environmental workshop for congregations
  • Have been actively involved in subsequent workshops and city-wide efforts
  • Frequently speak at other congregations
  • Hold regular art shows featuring the use of recycled materials or natural themes
  • Held Sunday Expos on environmental topics (recycling, IndyGo, etc)


  • Conducted Energy Audit of church campus
  • Instituted recycling of paper, glass, plastic and cans in all church buildings
  • Use china cups for coffee hour; church members bring their own reusable table service to church dinners and we purchase #1 or #2 recyclable plastic cups (when necessary)
  • Installed motion sensing light/exhaust fan switches in restrooms in Social Hall and Commons Building
  • Tested paint on church buildings for presence of lead and used precautions when scraping and repainting those buildings
  • Installed on demand water heaters in Social Hall restrooms
  • Wrapped our water heaters with insulation
  • Built homemade storm windows for the Cottage
  • Are in the process of installing CFL bulbs
  • Replaced several HVAC units with high efficiency unit


  • Adopted policy on waste minimization in church activities
  • Established Environmental Sustainability Committee as a permanent church committee
  • Charged each church committee with articulating how it will integrate environmental stewardship into its activities


  • Installed rain barrel
  • Obtained certification of grounds as a Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Expanded our composting bins