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Oak Park Church Goes Green

Posted: November 11 2011 at 12:19 PM
Author: Anne Marie Gerharct


(Nov. 11, 2011)

Geothermal Lot 300x225

As the chill in the air reminds us of the approaching cold winter months, the congregation at Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church in Oak Park, IL is celebrating the completion of a new green project. “We have heat!” exclaimed the greeter on Sunday morning, Nov. 13.

This particular Sunday, the congregation dedicated a new geothermal heating and cooling system. “This project was finished just in time for the winter heating,” said church member Frank Fletcher. The church broke ground on the project in July. “We had to replace the 40-year old boiler system,” explained Fletcher. “We looked at options and received a $56,000 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation making the geothermal system affordable to us.” A capital campaign is underway to cover the rest of the costs.

Euclid Avenue Pastor Reverend Marti Scott said everything came together at the right moment and gave the church a chance to make an environmental difference and change. “Doing our part to reduce air pollution in the world (through reduced energy consumption) aligns the church with the world’s environmental improvement goals and in the process helps build a faithful community of neighbors, contractors, contributors, and church members.  This is doing our part for the salvation of the world,” she said.

The geothermal field was laid 150 feet under the church’s parking lot. The ground below the Earth’s surface stays at a consistent temperature. Depending on the season, the pipes which are filled with a special fluid will deliver heat or cooling to the church building. The more than 100- year old church sanctuary will now benefit from air-conditioning for the first time. In addition, brick permeable pavers were installed on the surface of the parking lot to reduce water runoff.

Rev. Scott added, “We look forward to smaller utility bills, too.” One of the project’s committee chairs, Sally Stovall estimates the church will save about $12,000 a year while cutting out the use of fossil fuels. She says the electricity bill will go up some, but they’re looking at options such as sun or wind power down the road. “We feel like we’re at a critical moment. It’s part of our mission to care for our Earth and our primary goal is to work towards becoming as close to a zero carbon footprint as possible.”

For more information visit the church’s website www.euclidumc.org and follow the Euclid Geothermal News blog at euclidgeothermal.blogspot.com.

(Nov. 11, 2011)

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