Timeline of Sustainability Committee (aka The Green Team)
In the summer of 2016, 144 solar panels were installed on the Woodbury church’s roof. These panels can generate 40 kilowatts of electricity and the have reduced the electricity purchased from the power company by 20%.
In the spring of 2017 The Grove’s Sustainability Committee was established. Pastor Dan Wetterstrom is the chair and the Team meets monthly. If you are interested in joining the team, please contact Pastor Wetterstrom at email@example.com
In 2018 the Campus Improvement Campaign funded replacing all existing light bulbs on both campuses with Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). More than 1100 fluorescent bulbs and 300 ballasts were replaced.
The solar panels and LED lighting together have reduced electricity purchased from the power company by 40% and also reduced the church's electricity bill by 25% over the last four years even with electricity cost increases.
Community Educational Events
The Green Team has partnered with other organizations to host educational events in the spring and fall. In 2017 the fall event was “Climate Change and Renewable Energy” with MNIPL (Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light) and Climate Generation. In the spring of 2018 it was a Soar House Party and Energy Conservation with MNIPL. In the fall it was Getting to Green about political conservatives and progressives working together on environmental issues with Conservation Minnesota. In spring of 2019 it was Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs with Healing Minnesota Stories from the MN Counsel of Churches with his message of creation stories from Christianity and Indigenous Peoples. In the fall it was a Water Quality Forum with Conservation Minnesota and the Freshwater Society. In the spring of 2020 it was Buff Grace, Solar Outreach Manager with MNIPL.
The Green Team commissioned an energy audit in 2018 paid for by Xcel Energy that identified opportunities and a plan to reduce use of electricity and natural gas. The Team has been implementing the recommended changes including LED lighting and improved energy saving entrance doors and better insulation.
In 2019 the Team received a grant from BizRecycling to improve our recycling and education efforts with church staff, the congregation and preschool.
Care of the Trees
As a community, The Grove is responsible for caring for our trees. In 2019 the Team commissioned an arborist to evaluate the trees in our grove and develop a treatment a care plan for now and the future. The good news is that we have many beautify and healthy trees including oak, maple, spruce and ash. Some of the Bur Oaks are more than 250 years old; older than the church itself and the United States! The bad news is that some of the trees pose a safety risk and need to be removed and 29 ash trees need to be treated for Emerald Ash Borer disease to preserve them. The Team is currently working with tree care companies on the plan.
Collaboration with Other Organizations
The Team has established a close relationship with EarthKeepers of the Minnesota Annual Conference of the UMC and Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light (MNIPL) an interfaith community working to create a just and sustainable world. Several of the Grove’s Team members are now members and working actively in the environmental movement.
Public Policy Activism
The Grove’s Team is involved in non-partisan public policy activism. We have sponsored letter writing to state and national law makers to encourage legislation that addresses the climate crisis, water quality and environmental issues.
Efforts by the Team have been recognized outside the organization. In 2018 the City of Woodbury gave us an Environmental Excellence Award and the national Interfaith Power and Light organization recognized The Grove as a “Certified Cool Congregation” for reducing our carbon footprint by more than 10%. In July 2020, MNIPL certified The Grove as a “Climate Justice Congregation”.