HILLCREST GREEN TEAM
was formed in 2019 to find ways to reduce our carbon footprint. The group compared fuel and electricity usage for the church between 2009 and 2019 to assess the impact of recent major retrofits (recladding of church envelope, added insulation, new windows and doors) on our fuel and carbon emissions. The building used almost 3000 liters less oil in 2019 than in 2009! We also looked at work done on the manse and its impacts. In 2019, the UCW transitioned from styrofoam and plastic for take-out dinners to compostable packaging. A celebration was held during worship to honour the work of all who had contributed to lowering our carbon footprint.
In late 2020, we organized energy audits for both the church and manse to determine the next steps. With tremendous financial support from the United Church of Canada's Faithful Footprints program, we have now installed six heat pumps in the Sanctuary, Chapel, and most frequently used areas on the main floor. We have also replaced at least 80% of the lighting with LEDs, replaced 4 windows, and installed an electric hot water heater (previously heated by oil boiler). Utility bills are being closely monitored to finesse best practices for optimal savings, the most efficient use of our heat pumps and oil furnace, and the best seasonal timing for shutting down/restarting the oil boiler.
Other churches have generously shared their own experiences with heat pump installation – their energy savings data, cost of installation and payback time on investment have been invaluable to our decision making. We would be delighted to share our own learning experience with any groups on their journey to lower carbon use. As we turn our attention to greening the manse, we hope Hillcrest can be a model for climate change action.
For more information, contact Melissa Mullen via the church office at 902 838 2698.