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Greening at Divine Infant Parish
Divine Infant parish, located in Orleans, has more than 3400 families. The parish had humble beginnings, starting in the gymnasium of Divine Infant School, then called St. Matthew High School. The Church was built in 1986.
View supplementary Video - Green Audit Process
Approximately two years ago, our Pastor, Fr. Frank Brewer, attended a pastoral meeting at which John Dorner, then the Ottawa representative of Faith and the Common Good, outlined the Diocesan green program. Fr.Brewer was impressed with the presentation and subsequently suggested to the Parish Temporal Council that a greening program be initiated. Two members of the Temporal Council, part of the first Green Committee, got the ball rolling. One undertook an energy inventory and the other looked at government incentives and the merits of doing a complete audit.
In the meantime, John Dorner was invited to give a presentation to our Temporal Council. He presented a wonderful slide show on the virtues of good stewardship of the environment of our planet, including references to the Bible. He also provided an introduction to the Greening Sacred Spaces Program in which we now participate.
The Green Committee reported their findings to Council, concluding that an audit should be done. Council agreed and Stephen Collette and David Patterson of Your Healthy House were invited to our Parish in June 2010 to do a complete Green Audit.
Stephen and David spent an entire day conducting the audit in the company of the Green Committee and the Parish caretaker. The caretaker was able to answer all the questions regarding the structure, various pieces of equipment (mechanical, electrical, etc), as well as the state of the recycling program and energy savings program. The Church has nine forced air gas furnaces and natural gas water heating. In 2009 over $35,000 was spent for electricity, natural gas and water.
Stephen felt that "the Church is in excellent operating condition as a result of the care and foresight taken in the day-to-day maintenance and operation of the building." He identified six main areas for reducing energy usage: lighting, air leakage and hot water usage, low flush toilets, replacement of exterior caulking, storm water management, and education for people using the hall and meeting facilities so that they may conserve energy and reduce waste.
In the main body of the report, Stephen went into greater detail and made over 60 recommendations. They covered many areas: the usual insulation, heating, water and electricity and such things as dishes and cutlery, air quality, vacuuming, scent free policy, candles, cleaning products, smoking, pesticides, and gardens.
The parish is taking these recommendations seriously and will be establishing a priority list for implementation. We have seen some fruit for our efforts (including those before the audit). For example, our daily electricity consumption has decreased 26.3% over the same period in 2009, resulting in a substantial decrease in the parish bill even with provincial rate increases.
Our parish is planning to expand our hall and meeting facilities in the near future. Recommendations were made regarding materials and energy efficiency for consideration of the designers. It was also suggested that we look at St. Gabriel's Parish in Toronto where a new church building designed to minimize energy use and maximize occupant comfort was recently completed.
With informed advice, support and enthusiasm, our parish has embarked on its Green journey.
Last Updated (Friday, 04 March 2011 05:09)
The PERC thanks the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their support. The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario.