Renewable Power and Energy Conservation at Bethel – a Brief History


Bethel solar panel installation (2014)

The Green Team (Care for Creation) spearheads Bethel’s environmental ministry of caring for creation.

Bethel Goes Solar!

In September 2010 Bethel applied to become a Green Congregation (via Lutherans Restoring Creation national program) and developed our Action Plan which includes transformation through:

  • Worship
  • Education
  • Buildings & Grounds
  • Discipleship at Home & Work
  • Public Ministry/Political Advocacy

This work put us on the path to “develop an institutional commitment to energy conservation” as Greenfaith reminds us PEOPLE are the #1 priority to save energy.

By Fall 2012 we were submitting our application to join the Energy Stewards Initiative to begin in January 2013. ESI aims for congregations to increase energy efficiency, reduce their carbon footprint, and save money which can be used for other ministries. Happily, 2013 was also Bethel’s 100th Anniversary celebration. Caring for God’s creation was re-affirmed as a critical part of our mission for the next 100 years.

Bethel had an energy audit completed in September 2013 and our Board of Property and Maintenance has been working faithfully to implement big and small building improvements:

  • Installation of Solar Panels on our Education building rooftop
  • August 2013 – Rooftop coating & prep (Inland Coating RC-2000)
  • March 2014 – StraightUp Solar completes panel installation
  • Connected to grid June 2014
  • Changed external porch lights to LEDs
  • Installation of an energy-efficient dishwasher
  • Insulation & weather-stripping; installed door sweeps on double doors of Education building; insulating heating return pipes
  • Zoned heating approach; reduce dependence on old boiler with heating elements installed on 2 AC units (heat for offices & north side of Education Building)
  • August 2014 – Installation of new heat pumps & furnace for nave/chapel

In the first month of solar production, 4.2 MWh of sustainable, photovoltaic energy was produced and was utilized by others on the grid.

Sherman LeeRenewable Power and Energy Conservation at Bethel – a Brief History