Insulating the Church

Blown insulation.

You may not realize but between December 26 and January 24 we made it easier for the Vitality team under Lyn Chick’s capable leadership to offer a warm welcome to visitors. In that month our church experienced a dramatic — if invisible — transformation as several crews from Energia, insulated and air- sealed the majority of the exterior walls in the back wing of the church and all of our attic. They also sealed the dirt floor in the basement under the sanctuary.

For this phase of the project, the crew worked from the inside of the building and you have probably noticed patches from throughout the back wing. Steve will paint these as time permits. A few areas like Beth and Annie’s paneled office will need to have the insulation blown in from the outside in the April.

In the basement spray foam and 6 mil plastic have been applied to seal off the dirt crawlspace below the sanctuary. Special thanks to Susan Yates and Kathy Nolan from ABC who did quick work right before Christmas to help remove items stored in that space. Susan also helped clear items from the attic so that spray foam could be applied above the offices, the theater, sanctuary and bell tower.

There are approximately two more weeks of work required to finish this massive insulation project but unfortunately they will have to wait until the weather warms. Energia will be back in April or May to insulate the sanctuary’s exterior walls from the outside.

We are happy to give this business to Energia. Based out of Holyoke, MA, they are a triple bottom line company, striving to maintain a balance between social, ecological, and financial concerns. They seek to provide green career ladders and real equity in their company for the disenfranchised. You can learn more on their website energiaus.com

We have been fortunate to cover half the cost of this important work with a large grant from Williams College through Center for Ecological Technology’s Community Climate Fund. The CCF provides technical and financial assistance for local non-profits to help install energy efficiency projects.

We should see some reduction in heating oil use this year but the savings on heating oil in future years should be dramatic. From our initial proposal (which did not include insulating the walls in Community Hall) CET calculated that we would save 2493 gallons of oil annually and generate an annual CO2 reduction of 24.25 e-tonnes. Depending on the cost of oil, we should save more than $6500 annually. The addition of the extra wall insulation will boost that number even higher.

For me, equally important to the bottom line is the savings to the environment. One of the reasons I joined this church was because of the core commitment to the environment. Yet in spite of our principles, our building has been an energy-wasting behemoth that has demanded attention. This investment continues our mission of caring for God’s creation and is a giant step in the right direction. Saving money while doing the right thing makes it a true win-win.

Katherine Myers, Co-Moderator