From left, Chris Lemphers, Jo Jamieson, Linda Engels and Andy Gilman standing in front of the bulletin board used to keep connected with the St. Stephen's United Church congregation. The bulletin board highlights not only the greening project but also community events that are working to mitigate climate change. (St. Stephen’s Church photo)

Qualicum Beach church receives $25K grant to reduce its carbon footprint

St. Stephen’s United launched greening project in 2020

St. Stephen’s United Church in Qualicum Beach has received a sizable grant it will use to reduce its carbon footprint.

Through the United Church of Canada’s Faithful Footprints, a nationwide initiative geared towards addressing climate change and reducing its churches’ carbon emissions 80 per cent by 2050, the Qualicum Beach church was granted $25,500, which it applied for last March.

The local church launched its greening project in 2020 and raised money with the objective of bringing its building in line with the United Church of Canada’s goal of becoming environmentally responsible.

“We’re focusing on five areas of the church’s property,” said Chris Lemphers, member of the Creation Care team, which heads the greening of the church. “We had to demonstrate that the improvement that we were going to be making was going to to have an impact from an energy efficient and carbon footprint reduction.”

READ MORE: RDN: $720K project aims to make Oceanside Place more environmentally friendly

The church has already started transitioning from flourescent lighting to LED lighting. The other initiatives being planned include replacing some leaky windows, adding insulation, weather-stripping all doors and replacing an old inefficient gas furnace with state-of-the-art, air-to-air heat pump.

The estimated cost of the project is $38,000 with United Church of Canada funding 66 per cent and the balance to be raised by St. Stephen’s.

Lemphers said once all the work is done, expected to be completed some time in the summer, they expect to incur savings of about $1,700 a year in energy costs and bring down their carbon footprint by approximately 25 per cent.

“These efforts will also allow us to put more resources towards community outreach and support programs, create a more comfortable indoor environment and make a contribution to slowing climate change,” Lemphers said.

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