Red Deer’s Sunnybrook United Church is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint by becoming a “zero-net solar-powered church.”
Eighty-eight solar panels will be installed on the church’s sanctuary roof over the next few weeks at 12 Stanton Street.
“We would like to publicize what one faith community can do to reduce its carbon footprint and thus contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions in Canada,” said Dale Watson, on behalf of the church’s climate change working group.
The church community is concerned about climate change and desires to be a leader for change. “Reducing our environmental impact is part of our mission as a church,” says Keith Rispler, co-chair of the church property committee. “The United Church of Canada’s creed calls us to live with respect in creation.”
The church also believes that being an environment steward is part of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, says Rispler.
The $69,500 project is completely financed by church members. It’s expected to pay for itself in 13 years. The 435-watt panels will produce over 38,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year — a little more than the church used in 2019 operating at full, pre-pandemic capacity.
Over a projected 30-year life span, the solar installation is expected to save 390 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere — roughly 13 metric tonnes per year.
“We have the opportunity to reduce our environmental footprint not only as individuals but also as communities, corporations and governments,” says Rispler. “We have taken up our responsibility as a faith community to reduce our carbon footprint now and in the future.”