The Peterborough Unitarian Universalist Church achieved Green Sanctuary status in 2009. This designation signifies that the congregation has undertaken the process of reducing its carbon footprint through a series of actions and upgrades in its buildings and practices.
PUUC began the process in 2007 with an energy audit of our physical space. Since that time, under the guidance of the Property Committee, dramatic improvements have been made to our property, and in 2020 we recommitted to reviewing our practices to strengthen our status and remind ourselves to continue living lightly on the Earth.
Our 2007 audit led us to make practical changes from installing a bike rack and replacing incandescent light bulbs with efficient compact fluorescents to converting our oil burner with a pellet stove and purchasing a new, efficient hot water heater. We improved insulation in the Parish Hall, installed programmable thermostats, installed customized storm windows on our sanctuary’s large windows and educated people to turn off lights when leaving rooms.
We also instituted teaching practices such as conducting “green living” classes, instituting recycling in our buildings and church office, purchasing recycled-content materials, supporting local agriculture, infusing our RE program with environmental/Earth-based teachings, composting, using washable dishes and cutlery, and much more. All of these practices and teachings are aimed at reducing our energy use and reducing our environmental footprints collectively and individually.
Read a detailed list of our achievements.
These energy efficiencies were financed by donations and grants obtained by our Fundraising Committee as well as by our designated Building Fund, part of our endowment. We also had a matching campaign, which covered the cost of the storm windows.
Green policies were also adopted by the Board for purchasing, recycling, heat and energy use and property maintenance and modification for our congregants as well as the many groups that use our facility.
Read our detailed policies.
To keep our green practices front of mind for our members, once a month our weekly Social Justice Candle was dedicated to Greening topics, such as promoting the use of glasses, china and silverware for all church events and in our personal lives, and advocating for recycling, local food, and green purchasing. Equal Exchange coffee, tea and chocolate continue to be served during Community Hour and are available for purchase
All these efforts culminated in PUUC achieving the status of Green Sanctuary in 2009. Our congregation continues to look for ways to live lightly on the Earth. We have fifteen connected storage units, converted from horse sheds; we hope one day to have solar panels on that roof or off-site, and as new methods of reducing our impact on the Earth are developed, we commit to review and adoption as they make sense.