To achieve a zero-carbon society where greenhouse gas emissions are controlled, we all have to come along and act as a task force. To succeed as a zero-carbon society, the foremost important task is not only to act but to act now! Start with baby steps or take a giant leap but start now.

Start by replacing your old gas-powered HVAC system at your home. Add solar panels on your roof. Start using electric appliances or shift to electrical vehicles. Stop or reduce the use of plastic and recycle more. There is much more that each one of us can do on an individual basis.  These days more and more industries (whether they are technology, manufacturing, automotive, food processing, or any govt. or private sector institutions) have already committed or intends to commit toward the rising climate change crisis. Now, religious institutions have also joined this league.

Reverend Megan McClure Traquair, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California, this Sunday has blessed the recently installed solar panels at the Episcopal Church of St. Martin in Davis, California. Bishop ascended with the help of a scissor lift to sprinkle holy water on the panels, celebrating St. Martin’s commitment to reducing its carbon emissions to zero.

A Zero Carbon Church! How did they do it?

St. Martin’s has always been concerned about environmental sustainability. Like many others, achieving this goal involved both baby steps and a few giant leaps. Here is the timeline:

  • In 2004, the church installed a small photovoltaic solar array on the roof of its administrative building
  • In 2010 replaced leaky single-pane windows and inefficient lighting with energy-efficient equivalents.
  • In 2013 it took a big step by substantially expanding on-site solar electricity production by installing a large solar array in the form of Solar Carport.
  • In 2017, replaced the gas-powered HVAC system with electric heat pumps reducing both our energy bill and carbon use.
  • The church has received an interfaith national award in its effort to reduce the speed of climate change.
  • In 2019, St. Martin decided to become a Zero Carbon Church and started work to install an additional 12kW of Solar System.

“We face a climate crisis which will have the greatest impact and we have a small and shrinking window of time to take action. Our church believed that we needed to go as far and as quickly as possible to reduce our church emissions. We hope our actions can inspire other churches, faith groups, businesses, and individuals, and our state and federal government to take the bold actions needed to care for God’s Creation”, said The Reverend Dr. Pamela L. Dolan, Rector, Episcopal Church of St. Martin

In attempting to become net-zero, solar panels on the roof of the church have not only reduced the church’s electricity bill but their carbon footprints also come to almost zero. A variety of news sources covered the blessing of the solar panels by the bishop on Sunday. The church hoped that their pursuit of becoming a zero-carbon church can provide individuals, other congregations, and communities with an example of what can be done, one step at a time.

Staten solar installed similar kinds of solar projects.  A few of them are among the Jain Center of Northern California, San Jose, CA (Carport), and Family Community Church, San Jose, CA (Rooftop). Another thing that is pertinent to mention here that Staten Solar supports non-profit organizations. We offer a 1% discount to any non-profit organization when they choose Staten as their solar partner. If you run a non-profit or associated with any, spread the word.

Ask yourself this question, what could you do in your own home, business, or organization to help reduce climate change? Please share this piece with your friends, family, and anyone else who may be interested! We want to encourage all religious institutions, organizations, and even homeowners to take similar steps toward carbon net neutrality. Education and awareness are key!