Press Release, Pam Fine, UUS:E Communications Committee

(Sept 29, 2011, Manchester, CT)

The Unitarian Universalist Society: East (UUS:E) Meetinghouse of Manchester, Connecticut has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ENERGY STAR certification, which signifies that the building performs in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency and meets strict energy efficiency performance levels set by the EPA.  UUS:E is the first house of worship to receive ENERGY STAR certification in the state of Connecticut.

Earning the ENERGY STAR is part of a long process and commitment that UUS:E has made to environmental stewardship. In 2006 UUS:E was accredited as the first Green Sanctuary Congregation in Connecticut through a program now administered by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). When it came time to expand, UUS:E was determined to do so in as green a way as possible. UUS:E earned two grants for energy efficiency and geothermal heating and cooling by following top standards in the renovation and building project. The building was dedicated on September 19, 2010. UUS:E is now in candidacy for Green Sanctuary Re-accreditation through the UUA by following an Action Plan to further its Earth ministry.

“UUS:E is pleased to accept EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification in recognition of our energy efficiency efforts,” said UUS:E president Jo Anne Gillespie. “Through this achievement, we have not only significantly lowered our energy costs, but also demonstrated our commitment to environmental stewardship, in keeping with the Unitarian Universalist principle of respecting the interdependent web of existence of which we are all a part.”

Buildings that earn EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification use an average of 35 percent less energy than typical buildings and also release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  UUS:E improved its energy performance by carefully managing its energy use and by making major energy efficiency improvements to the Meetinghouse during a major renovation in 2010.

“Improving the energy efficiency of our nation’s buildings is critical to protecting our environment,” said Jean Lupinacci, Chief of the ENERGY STAR Commercial & Industrial Branch. “From the boiler room to the board room, organizations are leading the way by making their buildings more efficient and earning EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification.”

To earn the ENERGY STAR, UUS:E took the following actions during its recent renovation:

  • Designed the building to incorporate multi-use space whereby rooms, including the sanctuary, were designed for multiple uses to minimize the increase in size of the building.
  • Installed a geothermal heating, cooling, and hot water system, reducing energy use by 30-40% versus the best conventional systems
  • Included extensive insulation in new building walls and utilized high efficiency windows.
  • Installed energy efficient lighting and light controls in all rooms
  • Use of ENERGY STAR appliances
  • Installation of paddle fans in the sanctuary
  • Training for key employees in the use and management of the new geothermal heating/cooling system

EPA’s ENERGY STAR energy performance scale helps organizations assess how efficiently their buildings use energy relative to similar buildings nationwide. A building that scores a 75 or higher on EPA’s 1-100 scale may be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification.

ENERGY STAR was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products as well as new homes and commercial and industrial buildings that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the EPA. Last year alone, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved $18 billion on their energy bills while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 34 million vehicles.

For more information about UUS:E, see http://www.uuse.org; for further information concerning ENERGY STAR, contact Jim Adams (ounpuu.adams@comcast.net); for further information concerning Green Sanctuary, contact Janet Heller (janet.heller@snet.net).

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