St. Bede’s Goes Green
Menlo Park, CA – “Bede’s Greening” has been the theme of St. Bede’s strategic plan process, which has led them into their recent capital campaign with James D. Klote & Associates. They have been focusing on stewardship and sustainability goals, for both planet and parish, for the last five years. This work has made them confident that what is best for the earth is also best for their faith community and every community. Furthermore, St. Bede’s is committed to their witness as earth stewards, thinking globally and acting locally. Faith communities are logical places to proclaim the redemption of creation!
Stewardship and sustainability goals can be applied to all parish energy and resource systems, whether aspects of facilities management, financial management, or the best use of St. Bede’s human resources. The capital campaign was structured to make urgently needed facilities upgrades first and then to add desirable enhancements, while increasing maintenance endowment capital. A maintenance endowment that provides annual interest income adequate to cover routine repair and replacement costs is a sustainable feature of financial stewardship. Because St. Bede’s has a dual use site, shared with their day school, they have higher facilities requirements and expectations than a simpler site would typically generate.
St. Bede’s replaced flat roofing areas with reflective roofing materials, for energy savings. They worked with their energy provider’s nonprofit consultancy group on an energy audit. They replaced and retrofitted lighting for considerable energy savings and enhanced natural spectrum illumination. They created a replacement schedule for classroom furnaces to energy star rated units. In the replacement of the industrial scale sanctuary HVAC system, St. Bede’s invested in an additional fresh air circulation feature, to take maximal advantage of the cool nights of our climate zone in summer weather. In planning new hard-scape surfaces, they took into account bio-filtration needs for the elimination of storm water runoff hazards to the surrounding watershed. In planning new landscape design features, they selected California and Mediterranean plant materials, hardy varieties with low maintenance and low water needs.
St. Bede’s is now in the process of creating routine repair and replacement maintenance schedules, using supportive software. They are assessing the feasibility of flash water heaters to replace conventional models. They are also pursuing an energy assessment with a local solar provider, after consulting with a neighboring church, which used creative investment options to install solar panels and are now running their facility at zero energy cost, even as they pay their investors a good return for the next decade or so. St. Bede’s will continue to consider every option available to them to enhance parochial and planetary sustainability. They also know this has a ripple effect, among their membership and the school community, as individual householders adapt solutions to their own homes.
St. Bede’s was able to raise 100% of their capital campaign goal for the completion of all of these projects.