St. Paul's UCC Earthwise Team
St. Paul's UCC has a record of being environmentally responsible. Since 2009, the Earthwise Committee has led the congregation in environmental activities that save money and help to save the Earth. In 2014 we completed two big projects—the solar panel array and rain gardens—that are making a significant difference in our impact on the natural world.
Ninety-six solar panels were installed on the Great Hall roof. Under optimal conditions, the solar panels provide up to 40 kilowatts of power. Even in the winter, we're making electricity out of sunshine. We noticed the savings immediately and are gradually paying off the cost of the installation. Our completed solar array was filmed and the segment shown on Al Gore's “24 Hours” television program. For more information on our solar project, please click here.
At the same time, the roof over the wing containing the offices and Classrooms A, B, and C was redone. New is a slope on the roof that directs all rain and snowmelt toward Summit Avenue and the rain garden. Also new is a thicker layer of insulation that protects the building from temperature extremes and water leakage. Gone is the lake that used to collect on top of the roof during the winter, causing leakage, and the waterfalls where melt and rainwater would cascade onto the parking lot. People in the offices and classrooms appreciate the drier environment.
Two new rain gardens were installed with the help of grants from the Capitol Region Watershed District and Ramsey Conservation. These gardens are on the north side of the church and receive rain and meltwater from church roofs year-round. They allow runoff water to seep gradually into the soil and replenish soil moisture and prevent runoff entering street drains. The gardens are planted with native wildflowers that grow well in wet areas. The wildflowers attract birds, bees, and butterflies, providing an oasis for them and a place of meditation for us humans.
That's not all! Earthwise maintains the resource-saving activities that we've started since 2009, and we look for new ideas, large and small. We work with the Ministry of Belonging & Community to provide Fair Trade Coffee Hour on Sundays, supporting environmentally friendly agricultural practices in coffee-growing countries and in our local community. We’ve recently focused on helping our members and our community learn more about the important topics of food ethics and global warming with an eye on finding ways to be kind to God’s creatures and the earth.
We receive yearly recognition from the Minnesota Conference of the UCC as an Earthwise Church. Join us in environmental activities—large and small, at home and in church. Let's all reduce our carbon footprint for the sake of our children and our global neighbors!