Posted by Neighborhood Church

As we were reminded at our recent Earth Day worship service, the Neighborhood congregation unanimously committed the church to becoming a net zero emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to development a plan this church-year for achieving that goal.  As the chair of the resulting Net Zero @ Neighborhood Committee I’d like to give y’all an update on the plan we have developed to date.

Since the resolution was passed last May, the Net Zero Committee first, articulated a vision for what Net Zero will mean at Neighborhood, and then got to work calculating the church’s and congregation’s carbon foot-print, surveying the church campus for opportunities to improve our energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions, and drafting a cost schedule and timeline for getting that work done.

We also partnered with the Pachamama Alliance, an organization that mirrors our UU principles, to help us engage you, the congregation, in a process for discerning the significance of our Net Zero effort.  Emphasizing how it can help us live-out a vision for an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on our planet.

The Net Zero Plan we have developed will be officially published in the church’s Annual Report later this month, but a draft version of the plan report is now available for you to read, cogitate on, and provide us with your thoughts and insights on.

In summary, the plan states, rather boldly, that…

Neighborhood Church will have achieved its Net Zero aspirations when we have first, eliminated or off-set all carbon emissions generated from the use of the Church campus, and second, when we have eliminated or off-set the collective carbon emissions from our congregants.

The plan maps out a strategy for reaching net zero at church by:

  1. Reducing energy use on campus by ~40%, and eliminating the use of natural gas
  2. Producing ~50% of the electricity used by the church, which means installing ~35 kW of solar on campus
  3. Purchasing carbon-free electricity from PWP or a local Community solar facility
  4. And off-setting our remaining CO2 emissions with carbon offsets

Emissions from the congregation will be reduced by encouraging and facilitating congregants to:

  1. Understand and track their personal carbon emissions
  2. Take significant steps to reduce their emissions and utilize carbon-free energy
  3. And off-set their remaining emissions with carbon offsets

So please, CLICK HERE for a copy of the draft plan on the church’s web site, or pick up a copy on the patio at the Social Justice table after services on Sunday, then seek us out, ask us questions, and tell us what you think.  The plan does require all of us to participate, either with additional funding, or pitching in on campus work days.  The committee believes you will find the plan meets the intent of the resolution you passed last year, and provides a viable, exciting path to accomplishing our aspirations to be a Net Zero Congregation.

Please note, the Net Zero @ Neighborhood Committee includes: Stephanie Ballard, Cary Belling, Frank Colcord, Clyde Derrick, Peter Eisenhardt, Susette Horspool, Terry Krueger, Rachel Macias, Evan Nuckles, Joe Pardee, John Podlenski, Rody Stephenson, Leslie Swanson

-Frank Colcord, Net Zero @ Neighborhood Committee Chair-