What Meetings Are Doing
We've had an interesting conversation going on the QEW Discussion list and on Facebook recently after a Friend wrote in and asked, "Have you any information on what Meetings are doing to reduce their use of fossil fuels?" Folks have been responding from all over. Below you'll find a sampling of the responses we've received, and we'd love to use this space on our website to lift up stories that inspire and encourage Friends.
So we're asking you: What is *your* Meeting doing?
Send your stories in a note to Katherine (katherine[at]quakerearthcare[dot]org) and we'll post them here!
In January 2015, Jim Kessler wrote with the following good news:
I'm on the Board for our Iowa Yearly Meeting ( FUM) youth camp and retreat center, Camp Quaker Heights. I'm very pleased to report that our board unanimously approved installation of a $50,000 solar unit on a new large equipment storage and maintenance building. This purchase will reduce our electric bills and make our annual budget easier to meet. Personally, I hope that this will motivate our meetings, my own meeting included, to consider many more solar installations on meetinghouses. I encouraged our local meeting trustees today to explore installing solar panels. Today before worship, I was told that William Penn University is meeting with representatives of solar companies to discuss installation of solar units on their residential campus. May the alternative energy transition accelerate and continue! I am thankful and praise God for these developments.
Mary Gilbert shares,
Friends Meeting at Cambridge (MA) has been addressing the energy/fossil
fuels problem for several years. I can put you in touch with folks who know
much more about it than I do, but I will share here what I know.
The first thing is to get a REALLY GOOD energy assessment for the
building(s). We first had one done that was inadequate and had to hire a
much more competent company to do it right.
Our Trustees Committee, which among other responsibilities has care of the
buildings, had already been making a long-term master plan of changes that
should be made, prioritizing so as not to put various horses before their
carts, and the new information was woven into this plan. (On prioritizing,
for instance, many voices are saying "Solar! Solar! Solar" as if that were
the first thing to do. It's the buzz word of the times but really not. by
itself the solution. We have made substanatial reductions in our use of
fossil fuels and have not (yet) added any solar panels.)
The next thing to do has to do with insulation and fixing leaks you hadn't
even suspected were there. Many Quaker buildings are old, and this needs to
be thorough. No point in pouring something into a leaky vessel.
Then make sure you have an efficient heating system. Old furnaces will
probably need to be replaced.
This can all be pretty expensive, so it can be inportant to try to find a
way to purchase whatever fuel you are using in a money-saving way, like
through a group that buys colletively.
The particular master plan your Meeting/Church will develop will be unique
to your situation. but really:
* A very good building assessment
* A master plan to prioritize steps (Then you have the fun of trying to fund
your master plan!)
BEWARE! There isn't a single-step solution, like slapping solar panels on
the roof of a leaky building.
That's all I can say off the top of my head. I can connect you with someone
from Trustees if you want a more detailed discussion of what we've been
doing here. We can even provide a graph that shows our progress.