Old In-town Church Adopts New Green Strategies
Druid Hills United Methodist to Celebrate Its Centennial in September
Atlanta, July 2010 - Druid Hills United Methodist Church (DHUMC) on Ponce de Leon Avenue may be a 100 year old institution, but it is definitely not “old.” With a congregation of 300 in a facility built in 1954 to handle 1,000 or more members, the church has been diligent about raising the revenue necessary for the upkeep of the buildings and grounds. Realizing the need to save energy and be up-to-date in planning for the future, The Board of Trustees at Druid Hills asked church member Tom ZuiderVeld, a local architect, to prepare a comprehensive Master Plan of Green Renovations to guide leaders in innovative decision-making on environmental issues for the next ten years.
ZuiderVeld and his Green Team of church members face a daunting task to solve problems with the 50 year old facility using energy-efficient, environmentally appropriate measures with limited budgets. Determined to start sooner rather than later, the team secured grant assistance from Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (GIPL) for an Energy Audit by Southface Energy Institute to identify energy conservation strategies.
As a result of that audit, the church immediately took the first steps to save energy. Gas service in the kitchen was shut off for the summer, saving $5,000 a year. All incandescent lights in the facility were replaced with Compact Fluorescent Lighting and failed air conditioning compressors were replaced with new Energy Star equipment and ozone-friendly refrigerant.
The Green Team was able to secure $14,000 from the GIPL Solar Loan Fund to help offset the cost of installing ten photo voltaic panels (2.35 kW) to generate green electric power. The panels were installed in March 2010. And while the panels have only been operating since May 2010, 970 kWh of electricity have already been generated and 2,148 lbs of CO2 greenhouse gas has been avoided. The church will receive approximately $600 a year by selling power directly to Georgia Power. GIPL also provided a matching grant to assist with the purchase and installation of 109 energy-saving efficient storm windows in the church’s education building. Church members have supported both projects with contributions and pledges.
Senior pastor Dr. Rex Kaney is enthusiastic about the going-green efforts. “This project is one way we as a faith community can witness and demonstrate an efficient way to reduce our impact on the environment,” he said.
The Master Plan includes environmentally sensitive renovations of the three existing parking lots around the church and will include a community garden with raised planting beds, gravel walkways and an interconnected system of water reservoirs to filter, collect and store water for irrigation. The church Outreach Team has already begun recruiting members for construction of the garden and for garden training by a member of the congregation who is a Master Gardener.
The future will also see the creation of an extensive green roof system, which can extend the life of existing building roofs up to ten years, solar hot water panels and rain water collection.
ZuiderVeld believes all of the green changes can be made in the next ten years with grants, contributions from church members and other support. “We will follow LEED Existing Building standards as a guide for all energy conservation and water quality improvements and strive to achieve a Platinum rating, the highest level possible,” he said.
For more information about DHUMC, visit the Web site at www.druidhillsumc.org. For live streaming data on photovoltaic solar panel energy production, visit our solar page.
Service Times & Directions
Weekend Masses in English
Saturday Morning: 8:00 am
Saturday Vigil: 4:30 pm
Sunday: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:45 am,
12:30 pm, 5:30 pm
Weekend Masses In Español
Saturday Vigil: 6:15pm
Sunday: 9:00am, 7:15pm
Weekday Morning Masses
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30 am
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Cincinnati, OH 45202
Cincinnati, OH 45202