Oak Park congregation reaches another milestone on its green journey

Euclid Solar installation 2014The Euclid Ave United Methodist Church Green Action Team got started shortly after the congregation hosted a showing of the film, “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2007.  Although only about 10 people attended that film screening, it provided inspiration for a broad congregational commitment to work toward reducing the ecological footprint of the building and its operations. Looking back on the last 7 years, the Green Action Team has led Euclid to rack up an substantial set of accomplishments.  Highlights include:

  • In 2010, Euclid needed to replace its 40+ year-old boiler. With the help of a referral from Mac Robinet at St Edmonds Church, a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation, a supportive pastor and Trustees, and a congregation that got behind the capital campaign, Euclid installed a geothermal heating and cooling system that reduced its energy consumption by 81%.
  • Since the church parking lot had to be re-surfaced after removing the asphalt to dig the wells for the geo-thermal system, the congregation chose permeable brick to replace it. The permeable brick allows 100% of the rainwater that falls on the property to be used to replenish groundwater rather than run into the storm drains.
  • After exposure to zero waste events hosted by Seven Generations Ahead, inspiration from D97 and D90 schools and the chance to participate in the village’s organics composting program, Euclid has stepped up its recycling and composting resulting in substantial reduction of the quantity of trash sent to the landfill.
  • Other projects included hosting a Winter Farmers market each winter, promoting Energy Impact Illinois energy efficiency program with members, hosting film showings as part of the One Earth Film Festival for the last 3 years and hosting sustainability related studies like Menu for the Future and Voluntary Simplicity.solar photo4
  • With the help of neighbors at Good Shepherd Lutheran and plants from West Cook Wild Ones' native plant sale this spring, Euclid started a native plant garden designed to attract butterflies and other pollinators.  Monarch Watch recently designated the garden as a certified Monarch Waystation.  Monarch butterflies have been enjoying the garden all summer! (see photo above)
  • Euclid completed its most recent milestone in July:  the installation of a 99-panel solar photovoltaic system on the roof of the education building that will reduce electricity usage from the grid by 27%.

Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church invites the public to a dedication of its solar energy system and a Sustainability Fair, on Friday, August 22nd, 4-6pm, at 405 S. Euclid Ave, Oak Park.  The event, held in conjunction with the Interfaith Green Network and a host of special guests, will offer refreshments and opportunities to socialize and learn from vendors and other supporting organizations about how you can make a sustainable difference in your congregation and home.