St. Alban’s, DC, shrinks its carbon footprint

The Rev. Scott Benhase, rector of St. Alban’s, DC, and bishop-elect of the Diocese of Georgia, wrote a column for The Washington Post recently about the church’s newly-installed solar panels:

There is a moral dimension to the energy choices we make, and, as conscientious individuals, we cannot ignore the impact our energy use has on the planet. Countless members of faith communities all over the world have begun to recognize their religious duty to care for God’s creation. We recognize that human civilization is polluting our environment, which is not ours but God’s creation. So we are choosing to be faithful stewards of this most precious of God’s gifts. …

At my church, St. Alban’s Parish of Washington, we decided to explore energy options that would reduce our carbon footprint while still meeting our energy needs. We were put into contact with Jigar Shah, former head of the revolutionary D.C. solar-energy company SunEdison. With help from Shah, Mayor Adrian Fenty’s office and other organizations, St. Alban’s Parish installed a wonderful 14.06-kilowatt photovoltaic system on the roof of our Satterlee Hall — turning the building into a clean-energy-generating station.

Our system now generates enough energy to displace nearly 23 tons of CO2 emissions a year, significantly offsetting our carbon footprint. Yes, we still draw energy from the grid, which is mostly made from burning coal. But we’re putting more clean, renewable energy back in than we take out. We’re making a contribution.

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