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FCG’s First Green Audit Since COVID

In this guest post, Brad Lennon and Elizabeth Nyburg of Christ Church, Toronto, share their experience participating in FCG’s Green Audit of their faith buildings. This is FCG’s first walkthrough Green Audit since the pandemic began.

Key words: Green Audit. Energy Conservation. Faith.

Climate Action Team on the Green Audit Tour of the Church

Our Climate Action committee at Christ Church Deer Park Anglican in midtown Toronto began its work about eight years ago. It has sought to promote climate-friendly actions by its parishioners in their own homes and to reduce the environmental footprint of the church buildings and the groups that meet there. 

We had already worked through a diocesan checklist on Creation Care about how we might reduce our buildings’ carbon consumption and output and to boost their energy efficiency. 

Through that self-audit we had discovered new opportunities for initiatives for recycling and waste reduction. In collaboration with Faith and the Common Good’s Energy Benchmarking program, we had also recognized what our Director of Parish Operations, our buildings’ staff, and our volunteers in the kitchen and elsewhere had already accomplished. For example, we were already using reusable dishes and silverware and had reduced much of our lighting to higher-efficiency LED bulbs.

We found ourselves in the middle ranking of the other congregations and worship groups that had also participated in the Benchmarking Studies. We had worked with the Property Committee to evaluate our heating system and alternatives to our gas boilers. Our Climate Action group and our Property Committee wondered what further steps we might take through retrofitting to improve our standing from where we already were.

We had secured funding several years ago to obtain the consulting services of a building specialist to enable us to be better informed in our decisions about managing upgrades. 

We returned once again to Faith and the Common Good to do their comprehensive environmental and energy audit. It involved a day-long walk-through with Certified Building Biology Environmental Consultant Stephen Collette.

Stephen invited anyone in our parish to come and join him for the day. He promised “to make it interesting and entertaining for all.”  He therefore involved not just the members of our Climate Action and Property Committees, but he sought to extend the conversation about energy saving and carbon use reduction to everybody in the congregation. And a half dozen of us and members of staff did follow him around, from the basement to the upper levels of the bell tower. 

Stephen answered questions that had troubled us – like whether we might reduce our heating bills by zoning our spaces and installing set-back thermostats in each zone (given our building’s structure, we would not.) He advised us how we might help our staff avoid the task they have had of emptying out our basement’s dehumidifiers several times a day in the summertime. He pointed to uncaulked ceiling vents that allowed huge heat losses in the winter, openings of which even our longest-term property committee members were unaware. Stephen’s inspection and photographs from this tour will result in his providing us with a forty-page report that will guide our Management Board’s future budgeting and decisions about the property. 

“Although feeling a bit rusty getting back into the groove with the Green Audit service, Christ Church was a great place to start,” says Stephen. “They have an amazing team of people keen to make a difference in their building, their community and the earth. With huge support from staff to deliver the Green Audit we worked together to find opportunities to reduce energy, save money and reduce their carbon footprint. A great day at Christ Church Deer Park!”

To learn more about FCG’s Green Audit and other audits we offer (including a Virtual Green Audit), visit our website at https://www.faithcommongood.org/audits

Going to great heights for the Green Audit: Andrew Harding, Member (left) and Stephen Collette

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