Islington's Green Team

Who We Are

The Islington United Green Team is a dedicated group of Church members formed in 2011 to reduce our environmental footprint and ensure that our Church was economically and environmentally responsible. We began by consulting with the experts, talking with other congregations and listening to our members. We joined the Green Awakening Network (sponsored by the United Church of Canada) and created a vision and a plan. Since this time, The Green Team has undertaken a number of initiatives to ensure that Islington is environmentally conscious in all of its activities. Take some time to see what we have accomplished so far.

If you would like more information about Islington's Green Team please contact the Church Office at 416-239-1131 Ext. 21 or email us at greenteam@islingtonunited.org.

Green Team Guiding Principles

We are stewards and our duty is to honour this earth.
That includes everything: the life in it, on it and above it.
 

God called the ground "land", and gathered waters he called "seas.
And God saw that it was good.
  Genesis 1:10
 

Take nothing for granted. If we endanger the health of our planet,
we endanger ourselves.
 

...speak to the earth and it will teach you.   Job 12:8
 

Our journey has just begun. Sustainable practices take time.
We may need to un-do old habits. We may need to use enlightened thinking.
Let's take the first steps together!
 

We believe in God who has created and is creating
Who works in us and others by the spirit...
A New Creed, The United Church of Canada

 

Living with respect in Creation

Sōl Power Monthly Update

 

 

Sōl Power at Islington

CO2 Avoided & Reimbursement

Our 48 solar panels have been connected to the Toronto Hydro electrical grid since October 18, 2011 and are producing clean, “green” energy for our community!
 

The graphs and data below give an overview of the solar plant production since it went fully operational. The "Energy", "CO2 avoided" and "Reimbursement" figures are cumulative since October 20, 2011. The graphs represent daily and hourly energy production. The dates are user selectable so you can view the production graphs for any date since startup.

 

 

NOTE: The diagram below is a static representation of the interactive chart. Click anywhere on the diagram below to open the actual interactive chart in a new window.
 

 

 




























 

Sōl Power at Islington

How Our Solar Power Works

Solar Power Technology (courtesy of NASA)
Islington United Church uses a technology called “photovoltaics.” It is the direct conversion of light into electricity. Photovoltaic (PV) materials exhibit a property called the “photoelectric effect” that causes them to absorb photons of light and release electrons. Free electrons are captured and an electric current is created to generate electricity.
 

















The diagram above illustrates the operation of a basic photovoltaic cell, also called a “solar cell.” Solar cells are made of the same kinds of semiconductor materials, such as silicon, used in the microelectronics industry. For solar cells, a thin semiconductor wafer is specially treated to form an electric field, positive on one side and negative on the other. When light energy strikes the solar cell, the electrons are knocked loose from the atoms in the semiconductor material. If electrical conductors are attached to the positive and negative sides, forming an electrical circuit, the electrons can be captured in the form of an electric current – that is, electricity. This electricity can then be used to power appliances, such as a light or a tool.
 

A number of solar cells electrically connected to each other and mounted in a support structure or frame is called a “photovoltaic module.” Modules are designed to supply electricity at a certain voltage. The electrical current produced is directly dependent on how much light strikes the module.
 

 

Multiple modules can be wired together to form an “array.” In general, the larger the area of a module or array, the more electricity that will be produced. (Islington’s modules produce 245 watts each and our array produces a maximum of 10 kilowatts of power, depending on how sunny it is.)

Photovoltaic modules and arrays produce direct current electricity. They can be connected in both series and parallel arrangements to produce any required voltage and current combination.

 

Our 48 PV panels are arranged in two arrays each connected to a device called an “inverter.” The direct current collected from each array of panels is converted to alternating current at the inverters. The inverters then pass the alternating current out through our “export meter” to our line with Toronto Hydro and into its power lines. The inverters also help us monitor the efficiency and production of our panels and are connected directly to the Internet to give us current performance information.
 

Roof-mount System
We installed our solar power system on the large flat roof of Stewart East Hall. (See photo)


The panels are arranged in a diagonal pattern facing due south. They are tilted at a fixed 30 degree angle. The mounting system is made up of interlocking plastic bins, constructed of ultraviolet resistant recyclable plastic that are aerodynamically designed and weighted to avoid the need to drill holes through our roof.
 

The Green Team Wins Green Sacred Space Award

Congratulations to Our Green Team

Each year Faith and the Common Good presents the Greening Sacred Spaces (GSS) Awards to recognize the contributions of faith communities who demonstrate commitment to the care of the environment through action. These awards provide a way for people from diverse faith traditions to come together with the shared purpose of affirming and celebrating those who lead the way for all of us in stewardship. All actions in support of the sustainability of life on our planet are critical and urgent. It is now widely accepted by eminent scholars and scientists that the greatest threat to humankind at this time is global warming.

Islington United Church was one of two recipients of the 2013 Greening Sacred Spaces Award. “Faith communities are the lighthouses of environmental hope and change.” The award is presented annually to faith communities who have met a stringent set of criteria – the completion of at least five actions within each of three categories: Spiritual Work, Practical Work and Community Work.
 

Islington's Green Team

Other Green Team Projects

The Green Team has undertaken many projects since its inception in 2011. All projects have helped to “green” Islington United to fulfill our mandate of  “living with respect in Creation”.
 

Painting of the Church Office and renovating washrooms is a case in point. We used one of the “greenest” brands of paint on the market with very low VOCs (i.e., volatile organic compounds). The paint is water-based but contains no latex. Not only is the paint environmentally-friendly, it is of exceptional quality and durability.

The renovation of the washrooms also included the installation of seven new low-flush toilets to reduce our water usage. These new toilets help us reduce costs while conserving water.

We have also made major strides in energy conservation with the replacement of the fluorescent lights with new lower-energy equipment. The quality of the lighting in hallways, meeting rooms and offices has been dramatically improved and yet the new lights use much less energy. And we even qualified for a grant to help cover the costs of the replacement!
 

Islington United conducted an energy audit to set a base line for our energy use. From statistics and costs incurred in 2008 we were able to develop an understanding of our current energy usage. With each improvement we make we have been able to demonstrate what energy and cost savings we have achieved since 2008. Click on the image of the Islington United Energy Audit for a PDF version of this report. (Note: You will need Adobe PDF Reader to access this report. If you do not have Adobe PDF you can get a copy free here.) 

Islington United has also joined the Green Awakening Network. The Green Awaking Network is a group of congregations of The United Church of Canada in the City of Toronto. They have come together to share ideas and experiences, in partnership with others, on how to respond to the challenge of climate change and how to reduce our “carbon footprint.” 

You can find out more about the Green Awaking Network here www.tucc.ca/churchdevelopment/green-awakening-network.html.