Greening Case Study
Hamilton Monthly Meeting Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Hamilton, Ontario, 7 Butty Place, Hamilton. Meeting for Worship every Sunday at 10:30 am.
Mission and Background
The way is available to all. It may be particularly attractive to those strongly concerned with peace and social justice and to those with a meditative or mindfulness practice who seek a supportive community.
Quakers meet in silent worship to strengthen this connection and bear witness to its power in our lives. From the stillness that puts us in touch with the Divine comes our corporate testimony of simplicity, honesty, and non-violence. Work towards the just and equitable treatment of all human beings and close attention to the health and sustainability of our communities and the environment that supports them are examples of these testimonies.
Historically these testimonies have led many Quakers to the forefront of movements for social justice: prison reform, the abolition of slavery, pacifism, and indigenous rights, among others.
Green Actions: Timeline
2010: Insulation upgrades to the building
Their first major energy retrofit was to add a cladding around their building, providing more insulation to the building. This retrofit was spearheaded by member, the late Helen Brink who, thanks to her dedication to sustainability, campaigned for this project for a number of years. For Helen, the expense of improving the insulation of the Quaker House was motivated by the environmental improvements, as the expense did not bring in a huge financial return quickly. But after years of discussion and some financial backing, the members decided to go ahead with the insulation.
Visually, an added benefit of cladding is that it freshens the look of the building.
2016: Energy-efficient windows
Condensation was building up on the windows and the plastic was breaking down, making them harder to open. They were replaced with more energy-efficient ones.
2018: New, energy-efficient furnace. New roof.
The furnace needed to be replaced as it was no longer operational. As with the windows, both these retrofits came out of necessity as well as needing the upgrades.
In the summer of 2018, the roof was replaced with a new steel roof. A steel roof would last longer with a life expectancy of 50-75 years versus 15-25 years for a shingled roof. As well, they reflect heat lowering cooling costs. Lastly, at the end of their life cycle, steel roofs are recyclable.
Quaker House is powered by Bullfrog Power, how it works as stated on their website:
"Bullfrog makes sure that for every kWh of electricity you use, a kWh from a pollution-free, renewable source is put on the grid on your behalf."
Quaker House joined the Energy Benchmarking project in 2019 and they are looking forward to seeing their energy usage reports from year to year.
In March 2019, members hosted an Earth Hour service in partnership with the Ecological Churches of West Hamilton (EcoWHam). The focus was to provide a space to reflect, pray, meditate on the environment and included a call to action.
- Environmental stewardship does not always translate into immediate financial gain, so it is not always about making an economic case to take on energy retrofits. But members found that environmental concerns might become the tipping point to act.
- It creating positive change, it is essential that there be a champion to take the lead in collecting data and research best practices.
- While it may take time and there are costs involved, it is better to try then to do nothing.