Green Sanctuary Congregation
The goal of the Unitarian Universalist Association Green Sanctuary Program is to help bring congregational culture into greater alignment with long-term, environmentally-aware faith and practices. The program is based on a framework of four focus areas:
• Environmental Justice
• Worship and Celebration
• Religious Education
• Sustainable Living.
Green Sanctuary Goals
• Build awareness of the significance and complexity of environmental issues
• Encourage personal lifestyle changes consistent with our UU Seventh Principle (Link tour PSC page)
• Engage in community action on environmental issues
• Strengthen the connection between spiritual practice and Earth consciousness
• Work to heal environmental injustices.
Other Green Initiatives
UUSD's New Home
In September 2015, we moved into our new facility on Lewes Georgetown Highway in Lewes. We converted an existing home into office and meeting space, classrooms, and a Gathering Area. We also added a 3,000 square foot sanctuary where we hold our Sunday services as well as other events. Throughout the construction planning, our goal was to make the building as energy efficient as possible.
New Building Energy Features
• Near net zero energy
• High R-value insulation
• 105 solar panels on the roof
• High SEER, ground-sourced heat pumps & programmable thermostats
• Energy efficient and tankless water heaters
• Two-flush, water-saving toilets and waterless urinals
• LED lighting and optimization of natural light
• Low-E double-paned windows
• Daylight sensors on parking lot lights
• Energy remediation steps in existing house.
Designing Sustainable Gardens
UUSD’s Landscape Management Committee and the University of Delaware Bachelor’s of Landscape Architecture Program worked together in 2016 to begin planning sustainable garden areas for our church property. Maggie Heffernan, a Lewes resident in the L/A program, did an internship with UUSD under the supervision of Associate Professor Anna Wik. On December 16, 2016 members of the UUSD Landscape Management Committee heard Maggie and several of her classmates present their garden design concepts. We were absolutely astounded at the wonderful presentation!
The students totally captured the essence of who we are at UUSD and infused that knowledge into every aspect of their designs. They chose plants from wonderful color palettes and indicated how each plant represented a value also honored by our UU faith: compassion, honesty, love, and justice. They told us they chose a wide variety of plants because they knew that we welcome diversity at our church.
The native and sustainable plantings will attract a variety of hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees, in keeping with our Seventh Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. One student had even attended a Sunday service at the Unitarian Universalist Societ of Mill Creek so he could get a better understanding of what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist! In the design for one garden area, the student incorporated seven cascading rain barrels to represent our Seven Principles.
We encourage everyone at UUSD to view the complete presentation to understand all the possibilities for beautifying our property while also honoring the natural flora and fauna with which we wish to coexist. We hope to contine Maggie's internship to help us bring some of these garden designs into reality. We also hope to invite Maggie, and any of her fellow students who are available, to do a presentation, answer questions, and give everyone the chance to meet these great young people. Those of us who went to UDel were not only overwhelmed by the wonderful presentation, but also came away feeling a renewed spirit of hope for what the upcoming generation will do to make the world a better—and more beautiful—place.
Joining Delaware Interfaith Power and Light
In January 2012, UUSD became the first Delaware congregational to join the newly formed Delaware Interfaith Power and Light (DeIPL). The mission of DeIPL is to mobilize a religious response to climate change by promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation to ensure a livable planet for ourselves and future generations. John Sykes, a member of our congregation, is the President of DeIPL. One of their offerings is a home energy audit workshop, developed by our Green Sanctuary Program for our congregation. Visit the DeIPL website for additional information about the program.