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UUI Invites Public to Solar Panel Dedication

 The Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis (UUI) will hold a public dedication of its new solar panel installation at 12:30 PM on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018. Everyone is welcome to attend. The 20-minute event will take place on the church grounds at 615 W 43rd Street. It will include brief presentations by church and community leaders, music, and a ceremony of dedication. Following the event, a Question-and-Answer session will be offered along with refreshments.

 The purchase and installation of the new solar system is part of UUI’s environmental sustainability commitment. With a long history of involvement in environmental causes, the congregation signed the Paris Pledge in 2015, committing to reduce carbon emissions by 50% before 2030, and 100% by 2050. With the new solar panel system, the church facility will become essentially electrically self-sufficient.

 The ground-mounted solar panel system is made up of 128, 315-watt panels which will produce about 58,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, helping to prevent the release of about 60 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere by coal-generated commercial power plants. The system cost over $108,000 and was funded by contributions from church members and friends and grants.

 UUI has been a leader for environmental initiatives in the Indianapolis faith community. It was designated by Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light as an Acclaimed Congregation and it is a founding member of Indy Green Congregations. Nationally, UUI is accredited by the Unitarian Universalist Association as a Green Sanctuary.


Recycling at UUI

Did you know that not washing out your recycled containers can contaminate so many other perfectly recycled containers, which then all have to be sent to landfill? For more information on how to recycle better, how UUI can help, and opportunities to get involved, check here.

Environmental Sustainability Team

All UUI members looking to meet up with others who are concerned about the environment, enjoy great food, and participate in volunteer activities, please join the Environmental Sustainability meeting on Monday, August 13 in the UUI Social Hall. 

5:30pm: Meatless Monday pitch-in with Citizens Lobby members
6:00pm: Meeting Agenda covers current status of projects and ideas for the future
7:00pm: Join CCL for a monthly educational video  

RSVP to Hellene (hmhoudek3@gmail.com) for Agenda and CCL's Educational Topic.

Can't join us this month? Future Meetings dates are listed below. Format will be the same. 

  • September 16

  • October 15

  • November 19

  • December 10

 

Previous Projects

Good Cents Results

Below is a final tally of the results of the energy audits through Good Cents

Final Numbers from 2017:

Total Enrolled - 60
Completed and Paid - 33
Cancelled by those requesting an audit - 10
Not eligible because of utility supplier or having a recent audit - 13
Income Qualified Weatherization - 4 (Scheduled for 2018)

UUI benefited by getting $825 which has been put toward our solar project.  Assuming that the 33 homes that had audits received 8 LED light bulbs that replaced 60 watt incandescent bulbs, together those folks will save in the range of $15,000 and reduce CO2 emissions by 150 tons over 10 years.

Thank you to everyone who participated!  It was well worth the effort.

Yellowwood: The Battle Continues

Read this blog post (https://indianaforestalliance.org/moral-victory/?blm_aid=3819489) to find out what you can do, and what the Indiana Forest Alliance continues to do, to prevent this tragic cut of old-growth forest.

Solar Panel Project - We are Fully Funded!

UUI signed onto the Paris Pledge, which means we will strive to reduce our carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and by 100% by 2050.  We have made significant reductions thus far through energy conservation.  We want to take another giant step toward meeting our promise by installing significantly more solar panels to reduce our purchase of electricity and thus carbon emissions from coal-fired generation of electricity.

The preliminary plan is to install 120 panels on the ground in the general area where our garden space is now.  Because of Senate Bill 309, we want to do it before the end of the year to take advantage of net metering for 30 years.

Our Board of Trustees has given the green light to proceed with the education and start collecting pledges.  We will have a Congregational Meeting on August 20 to vote on proceeding.  The total cost of the project will be $75,000.  At this time we have $50,000 pledged.  So we need to collect pledges of $25,000 more to fully fund the project.  Panels will cost about $600 each.

Individuals or groups can donate any amount — it all adds up.  If you (or your group) sponsor an entire panel ($600) you can even name it!  Pledge forms are available in the Social Hall, or you can click here to view and/or print one.  Please leave pledge forms in the black mailbox outside the Cottage and Mara, our Office Administrator, will collect them. 

Click here to review the presentation slides on the Solar Panel Project.

Click here to view/print the Solar Panel Pledge Form.

Tire Recycling

Tires are a breeding ground for mosquitoes.  You can help make the world a safer place by helping reduce the risk of west nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases by disposing of tires properly.  Tires can be recycled at any Meineke location, or they can be dropped off at Mosquito Control (4001 E. 21st Street, Indianapolis) or Southeast Community Org. (1925 Fletcher Avenue, Indianapolis).  There is no charge at any of these places.

Please remember that you may bring old cell phones, batteries, CFL light bulbs, or discs to UUI to be recycled.  There is a plastic tower with green labels where you may deposit these things back in the corner behind the Welcome Desk in the Social Hall.  Jeannette Rowe of our Green Team takes them to the Tox Drop on Lafayette the first Saturday of each month, 9am to 2pm.  For more information, please contact Jeannette at jeannetterowe25 (at) gmail.com.

Recycling Toxic Waste

Now that spring has caught us red handed, we may be looking at the old paint cans and oil drums that have accumulated in our garages and perhaps are getting in our way, let's think about how we might improve that dilemma.  Let's consider learning about the City of Indianapolis toxic drop program at http://m.nuvo.net/indianapolis/indianapoliss-toxdrop-program/Event?oid=2590266.  You may find a list of what they will accept at http://www.indy.gov/eGov/City/DPW/SustainIndy/Waste/Reuse/Pages/ToxDrop.aspx. Lists will also be available in the Social Hall on Sunday.  Small items can be brought to UUI and for larger items, please contact Jeannette Rowe at jeannetterowe25 (at) gmail.com.

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. 

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.

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.


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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.