Sustainability News from Papakura Anglican
“Lent Discipline: an environmental challenge – Making your lifestyle count – A Lent programme for Christians who care about the environment”. Through this study Papakura challenged themselves to think more deeply about their use of water, energy, waste, transport, shopping and biodiversity. It asked the hard question, “the problem is too big, what impact could I possibly have?” and answered it with positive hope, “we see that small decisions add up”. For example, see how the decision not to drive one kilometre has a far wider ripple effect than our tiny action [click here]. The Lent Discipline series is part of the Eggs and Ashes resources from Iona, by Ruth Burgess and Chris Polhill, printed with permission. To download from the publisher [click here].
Papakura have also taken action. In their recent renovations they chose low flow flushing toilet cisterns and occupancy sensors to control the lighting in the bathroom areas. Renovations are an optimal time to incorporate modern water saving devices. An old single flush toilet uses up to 15 litres per flush in comparison with a modern dual flush using as low as 4.5 or 3 litres per flush. For more on water saving see the Sustainability Field Worker’s presentation on Water [download pdf].
Sustainability News from St Peter’s, Onehunga
A timely focus on Care of Creation during Lent 2013 led to some big improvements in sustainability for St Peter’s. Through liturgy and after church seminars they looked at a range of issues including climate change and the environment and how faith impacts on our lifestyle choices. The comment was that they, “generated much interest and we have already begun to make a few changes”. After the Lent season they invited the Sustainability Field Worker to assess their buildings and operations to learn more practical steps they could take to improve their sustainability. For more on liturgical and educational resources [click here].
Since then they have completed the refurbishment of their bathroom areas. This was an opportune time to include sustainable features such as improving natural lighting and installing energy efficient lighting, dual low-flush toilets and low-flow taps. Their old hot water cylinder was very large, with long uninsulated pipe runs. They changed to smaller localised hot water cylinders, thereby improving efficiency. For more on recommendations to consider when carrying out a renovation [click here].
Another area is making better use of natural light. Some older skylights at St Peter’s had problems with leaks, which is not unusual. An alternative, modern solution for bringing light to dark internal spaces is to install a tubular skylight such as a Solatube. Maximising daylight is a simple way to reduce energy consumption from artificial lighting. St Peter’s did this by relocating an external sign that was blocking light to a window.
We live in an interconnected world in which the small actions of many people combined, have huge impacts. Our everyday purchasing decisions, from coffee through to our mode of transport, can all have an impact on climate change. Rainforest Alliance, Forest Stewardship Council, Fairtrade and other similar certification schemes, despite their limitations, work to promote sustainable practices in environmental as well as economic terms and help to inform purchasing decisions.
Members of the DCCAG share some practical actions they have taken in their own lives.
“To reduce our carbon footprint from travel, we’ve converted our Prius to a plug-in hybrid. The extra batteries, charged by the photovoltaic panels on our roof, give the car an 80 km range on electric power, after which it reverts to its existing petrol-electric hybrid mode. This has halved the car’s fuel consumption from 5 litres per 100 km to 2.5 litres. Rod is a relatively frequent flyer for work purposes so he contributes to Air New Zealand’s Environment Trust with each ticket he buys.” Read more about Rod Oram’s photovoltaic installation in the Fossil Fuel Divestment section of the website.
“We have taken action to reduce our car travel by carpooling, using buses when possible, using Skype for teleconferencing and retaining one instead of two cars when we were able.”
“Relocating our family closer to work and school was expensive, but much less stressful and lower emissions too.”
You can find more actions on the Who We Are page. In the Links section we list other church and religious organisations that are working to promote sustainability and combat climate change.
“We are seeking to make our 70-year-old house a net zero energy one, that is, it generates as much energy as it uses. And we’re determined to do this in a cost effective way.
To that end we installed solar water heating in 2008, which reduced our electricity consumption by one-third. The savings paid off the investment in five years.
In 2013 we installed double-glazing, LED lighting in our main living areas, and a new roof that is thermally highly efficient. We also installed 5.5 kW of photovoltaic panels on the roof at a cost $22,000.
The PVs generated 3 MW h of electricity in their first seven months, most of which was during the winter. With summer coming up, we will generate more. So over the course of the first 12 months we think we will generate more energy than we use. Moreover we’ve switched from gas to electric heating, thereby reducing our carbon footprint further.”
You can read more about what Rod is doing to reduce his transportation carbon footprint in the Climate Change section.
Sustainability News from All Saints Church, Howick
“We were very interested to note that our lighting load had the greatest impact on our power usage”. Based on this knowledge from their electricity bill analysis, All Saints took action by replacing incandescent bulbs with efficient compact fluorescents (CFL) or light emitting diode (LED) bulbs as appropriate to the lighting required and upgrading their linear Fluorescents. They had already installed occupancy sensor switches in remote bathrooms to reduce power consumption from lights being left on. For more on lighting [click here] For more on how to analyse your electricity use for one year [click here]
The challenge of heating a large space efficiently is common to a lot of churches. The night store heaters in the main church and radiant heaters in the historic church are old and inefficient by modern standards. With rising electricity costs and Care of Creation motivating them, they were keen to explore alternatives. Far infrared radiant heaters are being considered. For more on heating [click here]
All Saints considered the possibility of generating electricity on their roof. A quotation for installing photovoltaic panels was received. It is not cheap! The cost of a photovoltaic system is like paying your energy bills of the future, up front. Therefore, further cost analysis is required to assess whether or not the investment is worthwhile.
Sustainability News from St Andrew’s, Epsom
St Andrew’s has a history of connecting sustainability with actions through their on-site Guide Garden, their youth involvement with the .350 movement for action on climate change, their recycling and their purchasing of 100% sustainable paper supplies for the office. In 2010 the renovation of the hall and kitchen resulted in reductions in electricity consumption due to the installation of energy efficient compact fluorescent lighting in the hall. The efficiency of the bulbs was further enhanced by the use of special lightshades. A more modern water boiler was installed in the kitchen.
In 2013, after investigating different options, they upgraded their heating in the old church to more efficient long wave (“black”) radiant heaters. Modern long wave heaters are a good option for church heating. They use radiant heat to warm bodies and solid objects rather than trying to heat the large volume of air in the church auditorium. In the Resources section you can read and download the paper, “Radiant Heating for Churches” for more information on the pros and cons of various types of heaters.
St Andrew’s also hosted a presentation by one of the Eco Design Advisors from the Auckland Council. At the meeting parishioners shared their own stories about improving the sustainability of their homes, once again connecting sustainability to practical actions. To find out about how the Diocese and the Auckland Council have worked together to assess Diocese homes [click here].
Sustainability News from Titirangi Local Shared Ministry Unit, St Francis Church, Titirangi
Titirangi “were all intrigued to see how ‘green’ they might be” before inviting the Sustainability Field Worker to assess their buildings and operations at St Francis Church. They were pleased to learn that their upgraded heating, improved insulation and water saving fittings all got the green tick.
In 2007 Titirangi upgraded their heating to efficient Long Wave (Far Infrared) heating. Originally the panels were hung crosswise but later changed as the lengthwise mounting was found to distribute the heat better. They are careful to set the heater time clock to programme the heaters to turn on and off as efficiently as possible. For more on heating options for churches [click here].
The analysis of their electricity bill showed that they spent roughly ⅓ on their winter heating and lighting, ⅓ on their base building load throughout the year, and ⅓ on the fixed component of their bill. The fixed component of your electricity bill is proportionally higher when your total electricity cost is low. This fixed sum (line charges etc.) must be paid no matter how much electricity you save.
One area for action was to upgrade their old fluorescent tubes and fittings and Titirangi have now replaced all of the fluorescent lights in the main church area. If your church has fluorescent tubes that are “fat” (called T12 lamps, 38mm diam.) or flicker when you turn them on, then they should be upgraded to more modern and efficient lamps (called T8 or T5 lamps, 26mm or less) and ballasts. When choosing lamps, select a warm colour lamp for meeting areas. The lighting industry is currently going through a major change to even more efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) fittings and lamps. However linear LED tubes are not yet economic for replacing linear fluorescents. For more on lighting [click here]. For more on how to analyse your electricity use for one year [click here]