This fall, with an eye to reducing the church’s carbon footprint as well as its heating costs, The Parish of St Hilda’s, Sechelt has been preparing for winter cold by increasing its insulation in key spots.
One area concerns two “Tiffany” style windows that were presented to the church by the Union Steamship Company for its first permanent building in 1936. In the old church, they were prominently situated on either side of the altar. When the old church was dismantled in the mid-1980s, they were saved and incorporated into the new building, a lovely reminder of the church’s history. However, infrared photos of the church taken last winter made it clear that they leak heat. To help with the cost of insulating these windows, the parish applied for a Diocesan Climate Emergency Grant of $1,000. The application was successful, and as a result the parish has installed additional double-paned windows on the outside of the stained glass. Many thanks to DofNW for this generous assistance!
The second area of concern was more extensive. The Church Hall was built over seventy years ago in 1949-1950, and was a prime candidate for a dramatic increase in its insulation. First, fibreglass batts were installed under the floor with the help of labour and materials donated by parishioners and friends. Then the parish contracted with a hazardous materials specialist to remove the existing two inches of insulation in the attic. This process was not for the faint-hearted, since it was filled with vermin excrement and urine, not to mention a number of God’s little creatures (deceased), and the workers had to wear hazmat suits. Once the attic was clear, another contractor blew in a much larger quantity of loose fill fibreglass. This should raise the R value (a measure of how well the insulation can resist heat travelling through it) from about R8 to R40. To help pay for the insulation project, the parish received a grant of $12,500 from the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors program, and an additional donation of $1000 from a generous parishioner.
As a result of these efforts, less of high-priced heat will be flowing out to the wide world beyond, and we should feel warmer in the Hall this winter. A bonus of the Hall’s better energy efficiency is that heating in the winter will be even more efficient and cost effective when, as planned, the baseboard heaters will be replaced replace with a heat pump, for both warmth and cooling depending on the seasons and the need.