Wind will power congregation’s building

A small congregation in Minnesota will soon provide most of its own power with its own wind turbine. The 58-member Nora Unitarian Universalist Church, a rural congregation in southcentral Minnesota, will receive a $20,000 federal grant to help pay for the $94,000-project.

Surplus power will be sold back to the local utility company. The congregation’s social justice committee began exploring alternative energy projects several years ago and settled on wind power. It expects to recover the cost of the project in 11 years.

The turbine will have 31-foot fiberglass blades on a 120-foot tower. Groundbreaking was to be November 21.

Congregations reduce energy use

Several Unitarian Universalist congregations have recently made environmental improvements that have allowed them to reduce their energy consumption.

  • The UU Church at Washington Crossing in Titusville, N.J., installed solar panels, which are generating about 90 percent of the electricity needed by the congregation. The system is expected to pay for itself in about four years.
  • The UU Community Church of Santa Monica, Calif., was honored by the city for making energy improvements that decreased its electrical bill by 9 percent. It also added cisterns to its property to reduce pollution runoff.
  • Cedar Lane UU Church in Bethesda, Md., is making efforts to reduce energy and paper use, including using permanent rather than disposable dinnerware. The church earns money from selling recycled ink cartridges.
  • The UU Congregation of Atlanta has adopted a “Sustainable Living Initiative,” which helps members weatherize their homes and encourages everyone to live more sustainably. It is working on a Buying Club to make green products more affordable to everyone.

Stories about these and other congregations are on the Green Sanctuary blog of the UUA’s Congregational Stewardship Office.