Laidlaw Memorial United Church is a beautiful old building built in 1912. The community boasts 140 members and an average Sunday worship attendance of approx. 80 people.
In 2008, Laidlaw Memorial United Church was a community faced with a dwindling membership, continuous budget deficits and a facility requiring multiple retrofits including a failed roof. Slowly, bit by bit, the community tackled their budget deficit by making small energy and money saving measures in just about every aspect of their facility. From installing a 7-day electronic set back thermostat, turning off the pilot lights when not in use, turning off the water heater in the summer to moving the heat ducts from the ceiling to the floor, setting up a convection current and making the gym warmer and using less fuel. In the process, they realized that they were going green. When it came time to deal with the cost of a replacement roof, it was proposed that the Church investigate the possibility of installing solar panels through the microFIT program in order to help pay for it. As they say, the rest is history as a mortgage loan was taken out to help pay for the new steel roof and the solar installation. On June 4, 2010, the project went live.
Remarkably, there have been no issues. Since an inspection after the first year after installation, where no trouble was found, the panels and equipment have functioned perfectly, and within parameters.
"The panels have been remarkable in starting conversations about being greener in practical ways. The congregation has always and unanimously welcomed the panels. The businesses on the street who buy 'bullfrog' green power, like pointing down the street to where it comes from. Younger people are attracted to our church, in part, because there is a practical expression of care for creation, and the good of generations to come. We have entertained the media, a youtube video and a local cable spot, as well as a spot for 100 Huntly street's "Good News" program. There is credibility to our calling for care for creation, and we have continued to upgrade lighting, windows, and energy efficiency. The solar project was, for us, a public statement of our values, and our ongoing commitment to God's creation."
This and more from Laidlaw United Church on their website: www.laidlawchurch.ca/about