Green Team Meeting
Several UUI member and friends have expressed interest in becoming involved in our Environmental Sustainability Committee -- also known as the Green Team. Please join us at our next meeting, Monday, February 28, at 7pm in the Cottage Library.
We have many things that need our attention. We have advocacy work like defeating Senate Bill 309 that would kill net metering for solar panels in Indiana. We have detective work to find where we can save some electrons (and dollars) in our buildings. We have sharing and education about how to be more successful in saving the planet. We have caring for our grounds -- which can be fun and community building. And then there is the big alley clean up that is planned for April. So there is much to do. Please join our team. If you have questions, contact Ray Wilson at email@example.com or 317-408-7418.
January Solar Report
As we all can attest, January 2017 in Indiana was very grey. Our solar panels generated only 218 kilowatt hours of electricity. That is even worse than December 2016, which came in at 230 kwh. January 2016 was significantly better at 346 kwh. But the days are getting longer and we can hope for a few breaks in the clouds. Spring and more sun are coming.
2016 Lawn Care
Because of our new mow-upon-call-system UUI implemented, we reduced the number of times the lawn was mowed to 15 mows in 2016, compared to the 30 times it was mowed in 2015. This resulted in a total savings of $2,184 ($168.00 per mow) in addition to the administration/mobilization charge assessed for each visit. We had a fairly wet spring and summer this year. If next year is drier, we will likely avoid even more mowing during the more typical summer dry spell.
We also chose to forgo three applications of fertilizer and herbicides, totaling a savings of $1,014. Turf condition will be assessed in the early spring to determine whether a pre-emergent herbicide application would be desirable to prevent excessive weed growth.
The grand total savings for the church from all the above was $3198. In addition to these savings, there were a number of substantial environmental, energy, and carbon-reducing benefits and our residential neighbors weren't disturbed as often by the noise of mowers, blowers and edgers.
Message from the Environmental Sustainability Committee
As most everyone knows UUI recently installed 200 LED replacement tubes. What you might be interested in knowing during the last few months of 2016, through only one vendor supported by Indianapolis Power and Light, 125,000 tubes were installed in schools and churches in Indianapolis. In rough numbers, if each LED tube saved 20 watts over the previous florescent tube and the lights were on 2000 hours a year, that would result in saving 5,000,000 kwh of electricity in a year. And if the cost of electricity is $.10/kwh, that would result in saving a half million dollars by schools and churches every year from here on. And more importantly that reduces CO2 emissions by 3500 metric tons every year. That is equivalent to 18.7 rail cars of coal not burned each year.
LED Light Installation
Thanks to the energy conservation rebate program of Indianapolis Power and Light and Culture Lighting, UUI was able to obtain 200 LED florescent bulb replacements for free. At full price these bulbs are worth $3200. Because of the age and variety of existing fixtures in the buildings, over forty light fixtures had to be replaced, requiring many hours of work. If we had to pay electricians to do the work, we probably would have chosen not to make the investment. Thank you to Jim Olson, Piero Madar, John Noble, Matt Bassett, Kathy and Don Dewees, Steve Dunlop, Joe Smiddie-Brush, David Ham, Bob Kirk, Jerry Foster, Mark Walsh, and Chris and Shannon Elliot. Special thanks to Shannon who figured out where to recycle the old, mercury containing florescent bulbs.
Our electricity cost will go down. The environment will be less stressed. The students will have better light. The maintenance folks will get fewer calls. Win, win, win, win.
We can use our purchasing power to bring about positive social, economic and environmental change. One way is by buying locally produced foods. We can also buy paper products that have high recycled-paper content, as well as tree-free paper and flooring. We can buy or make natural, non-polluting cleaning supplies, and we can opt for compostable dishes when reusable plates and bowls are not an option. Most importantly, we can reduce what we purchase by rethinking our needs, reusing what we already have, and not buying certain earth-damaging products, such as polystyrene plates and cups, disposable utensils and, of course, plastic water bottles.
Recycle Cell Phones
If Americans recycled the more than one hundred million cell phones they throw away each year it would save enough energy to power 18,500 homes, according the Environmental Protection Agency. We’d also keep 65,000 tons of electronic waste, some of it highly toxic, from polluting the environment each year.
Please drop off your old cell phones in the Social Hall. (If you can't find where, ask at the welcome desk.) We'll take them to the City’s Tox Drop for you.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint!
Fellow UUs did you know that you can greatly reduce your carbon footprint for all the electricity you use in your home each year to zero? We have approximately 100 families in our church. If every family reduced its emissions of CO2 resulting from electricity use to zero, we would save 2,520,000 pounds of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere. Pretty impressive!
So why in the world wouldn't we do this? Does this cost fifty dollars, One hundred dollars? NO!! About 15 minutes to sign up and about $20-25 per year. That's right folks - twenty bucks a year.
In Indiana about 80% of the electricity we use comes from burning coal. For each kilowatt hour of electricity you use, 2.1 pounds of carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere. The average Hoosier family (we know you are not the average family, but...) uses approximately 12,000 kwh per year and thus emits 25,200 pounds of CO2 a year.
There is no one in our church who does not understand that global warming is the most important problem ever faced by humans. Let's do our part to bring sunshine into this dreary July!
If you purchase your electricity from Indianapolis Power and Light click here.
If you purchase your electricity from Duke Energy click here.
If you need assistance or have questions, please contact a member of the Green Team. We want to brag that our congregation emits no CO2 from our use of electricity. That is our goal. We need your help.
Your Green Team thanks you!
Exterior Lighting Report from the Green Team & Building Team
Our church just invested in further reducing its consumption of electricity. We installed LEDs in all our exterior security lighting. Our old lights used 3430 kw per hour they were on. Our new ones use only 976 kw. That is a 71% reduction. We also upgraded the solar cells and time clocks so that we can better use electricity when we need it. If we assume that the lights will be on five hours per day and electricity costs $0.12 per kwh, we expect to save $1075/year. And there will be additional savings because of the long life of LED bulbs.
The cost of the bulbs and installation was $3,782, we expect to get a rebate from the utility company of $1,435, making our net cost approximately $2,347. So we will pay off our investment in a little over two years. And the really nice part about it is this is money that we accumulated $25 at a time by having Energizing Indiana do home energy audits and previous rebates from the utility companies.
We now know it only takes one Unitarian Universalist, at least at UUI, to screw in a light bulb. However, it did take quite a few to contribute $3840 to finance the project. And it took about 30 people to physically get the job done.
At one point after church on January 11th we had seven ladder teams taking out the old bulbs, washing the light fixtures, and screwing in the new bulbs. Others were taking the bulbs out of boxes and out of their packaging and writing the day’s date on the base of each bulb. Some were ferrying the new and old bulbs to the ladder teams. Some folks were moving chairs out of the way and vacuuming the floor.
We had several youth helping. One did top of the ladder work and two younger ones spent lots of time separating plastic from cardboard packaging and nesting it so it could be recycled more efficiently. And then there were the folks who provided and served lunch for everyone. And there were several people who ported ladders from their homes so we would have all the ladders we needed.
And we did the whole job, changing out 192 light bulbs, in about 1 ½ hours. And while we were working, Jim Olson even gave us a glimpse of the possibilities of our new video projector by showing us the beginnings of the Dallas - Green Bay Packers game on the upfront screen.
So here is the bottom line. The church will go from using 9600 watts to 1824 watts of electricity every time the lights are turned on – cutting electricity use by 81 percent. And since the CREE 9.5 watt bulbs are warranted for 10 years and with an expected life of 23 years, we should have little ongoing maintenance for many years.
Thank you everyone who had anything to do with this project. As a church we should be very proud of what we have accomplished. And thank you to the Fine Arts Committee folks who were taking down Christmas decorations and hanging the new art show while all of the light bulb activity was going on. You were very patient with us.