November 28, 2011

Energy Star Congregations - First Parish Needham

I visited First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Needham last week. They have a large Energy Star plaque prominently displayed when you walk in the door of the church. I encourage you to look at their Green Building webpage that describes the process. It is a great story.  

They are the first church in Massachusetts and the 6th in the nation to be certified as an Energy Star church. 

They tell the story of how a renovation project reduced their overall energy bills by 50% and their carbon footprint by 43% resulting in a "beautiful new, larger, and environmentally progressive" space. 

Here are a few excerpts from their webpage. 

The new Parish Hall is a sparkling air-conditioned space ideally suited for receptions and parties, artistic performances, art shows, and, of course, coffee hour. Sun-drenched by day, intimate at night, Parish Hall has excellent acoustics and a beautiful maple floor harvested from sustainable forests. An adjacent modern pantry facilitates the final preparation of food and beverages to be served in Parish Hall. The ground floor was completely rebuilt giving us well-equipped classrooms, a music room, and the beautiful Oakman Parlor. Similarly, the office wing was completely renovated and now houses modern offices, a copy and mail room, and the Wyeth Conference Room. Water use in the new building is down 40% from pre-renovation levels.

Elements that contribute to the remarkable energy efficiency of the new building include:
  • High-efficiency argon-filled windows
  • An improved ventilation system that allows for heat recovery
  • High-efficiency air conditioning, with eco-friendly refrigerants
  • Separate temperature control for all spaces
  • Extensive passive heating in Parish Hall, along with "free-cooling" using CO2 sensors
  • High efficiency light fixtures throughout and motion-controlled switches in many rooms
  • Energy Star appliances
  • High R-rated insulation
  • Low-flow toilets, with separate settings for liquid and solid waste and automatic low-flush flush urinals
  • Retention of storm water onsite, reducing load on the public sewer system

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