CUUC Environmental Assessment

CUUC Environmental Assessment


The Community Unitarian Universalist Church (CUUC) congregation owns a 4,736 square foot church building located at 2819

West Sylvester, Pasco WA. CUUC started occupying our current home in November of 2007. CUUC first permanent home was the church on Albany Street, Kennewick WA that we first occupied in 1948 and lived in until 2005. We were nomads from 2005 until November 2007 when we bought our current home.

Our Pasco home has a small lawn area around the building and a good sized parking lot on the 1.45 acre property. The majority of the CUUC church building is the sanctuary space. There is a small kitchen (with two dishwashers, stove and fridge) adjoining the sanctuary, three classrooms, two small restrooms, one office, and an open work area used as a fourth classroom. Our congregation has approximately 54 members with Reverend Craig Moro serving as our part time minister.


What are your energy usage patterns and current conservation practices?

Electricity Use: The CUUC church building is operated solely on electricity, with a medium general service rate structure from Franklin Public Utility District. The majority of our electricity cost comes from our peak electricity demand, measured in Kilowatts (kW), which is the highest average kW load during any 30-minute period each month. The electrical usage includes all the various usages of the building: weekly church meetings, weekly Sunday service, and numerous outside rentals every month. Average monthly electric usage: 3580 kilowatt hours (kWh)/month (averaged from past 13 months). The average daily electrical use is 115 kWh/day with the peak of 210 kWh/day during winter (January through March). The Energy Star Portfolio Manager is an online benchmarking tool that analyzes the energy consumption and use patterns of a building, and assigns a point total for the building relative to national averages for buildings of similar type. When we entered our energy bills and usage patterns into the Portfolio Manager for houses of worship, our energy consumption was 22% less than the national average which put us in the 70th percentile. See Attachment 3 for typical utility bills.

For lighting, the CUUC church building is about 90% fluorescent with standard office overhead T12 fluorescent ceiling lights in all of the non-sanctuary rooms. The sanctuary space has some indirect natural lighting (large sky lights shine on the wall behind the podium) and large fluorescent globe lights provide most of the illumination throughout the sanctuary space. The bathrooms utilize occupancy sensors that turn off the lights when not in use. The hallways through the classroom part of the building have about eleven recessed ceiling incandescent lights that could be replaced with CFLs.

HVAC The building, built in 1974 (by Carpenters Union, the previous owners), has three electric heating and cooling units. The main two heat pumps are located on the north side of the building and the third smaller unit is located near the main entrance on the east side of the building. One of the units appears to be the age of the building (1974), the second is about 15 years old, and the third looks to have been installed within the past 10 years. The units are operated by a programmable thermostat, with the capability of manual override.

Major Appliances There are two electric water heaters onsite. The bathroom water heater is an older 10 gallon unit, and the kitchen has a newer 19 gallon unit. Most of the electrical appliances came with the building include the refrigerator and stove. We purchased two dishwashers after we moved in. We got the dishwashers at a discount because they were excessed. The older appliances will be considered for Energy Star replacement as part of the Action Plan.

Building Envelope: The vaulted sanctuary space was built on a concrete slab while the non-sanctuary space is on a shallow crawl-space where the heating ducts come into the rooms. The floors are carpeted which provide some insulation in these rooms. The walls are constructed of brick with an estimated three inches of insulation. The windows are double pane vinyl and wood with the majority of these windows facing south and shaded with an overhang. The roof is pitched with shingles and the attic has batt insulation.

Evaluation: We had three engineers (civil, mechanical, and environmental) evaluate the building for energy efficiency opportunities. The main recommendation was to upgrade equipment when it needs to be replaced with Energy Star labeled items. Lighting upgrades are the most practical energy efficiency measures from a cost perspective. There are opportunities to replace the eleven recessed ceiling incandescent lights in the hallways with CFLs, and replace the office fluorescent T12 (54W) lighting with T8 (32W or 28W) ballasts and bulbs. Energy Star appliances are an option (for the refrigerator and dishwashers), as are renewable energy credits, both of which will be considered for our Action Plan.


What are the local recycling procedures and what is your level of compliance?

Current status: Our congregation owns a building is Pasco Washington. Pasco does not have curbside recycling pick up. CUUC has two large recycling collection containers located in the church parking lot, one for cardboard, and one for newspaper, clear glass, mixed paper, brown glass, aluminum and tin. These recycling collection containers are primarily used by the congregation, but also serve the surrounding neighborhood. In addition, there are recycling collection bins in the church for paper, glass and aluminum initiated by the high school youth group. The church generates very little waste, except for pot luck dinners and some yard waste.

Evaluation: We are doing well in this area, need to simply continue. Composting of the yard waste will be considered for our Action Plan.


What are the existing policies for use of non-disposable materials, environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, etc.?

Current status: We use some disposable cups or plates at potlucks. We also use ceramic coffee cups and plates for after service coffee.

Currently Routinely Purchased Goods

Janitorial Supplies: During the last year we have spent under $400 on janitorial supplies (including items like toilet paper, toilet cleaner, hand towels, garbage bags and other cleaning supplies).

Hospitality Supplies: During the last year we have spent about $150 on hospitality supplies (including items like coffee & tea, coffee filters, paper cups & plates, zip lock bags and other miscellaneous picnic supply items).

Stationery, New regular paper; at next reprinting of church envelopes and statio­nery, will specify envelopes and paper with high percentage of post consumer waste content.

Office Supplies: During the last year we have spent about $1000 on office supplies (including items like copy paper, stationary, ink, envelopes).

B&B Printing: During the last year we have spent about $1600 on office supplies (including items like the monthly newsletter, annual report, new members guide).

US Postal Service: During the last year we have spent about $850 on US Postal Service mailings.

Evaluation: CUUC will consider using Seventh Generation paper products, avoid Styrofoam, using our own dishes and buy 100% recycled paper products. Church member, Amber Eustus, sells environmentally friendly cleaning supplies and we will get her and evaluate available nontoxic cleaning products. We will also consider organic fertilizers for our Action Plan. We will also consider purchasing Fair Trade Coffee from UUSC Equal Exchange project. We will also consider ways to replace some of our paper mailing with electronic distribution of newsletters and other items sent out in the mail.


What existing church policies govern purchasing and investing decisions? Are your investments in keeping with your environmental and other social values?

Investing: CUUC has two Certificate of Deposits at Sterlings Bank and a money market at HAPO, a local credit union. For researching investments, see:

We have purchased Fair Trade coffee and tea from UUSC Equal Exchange project. The Fair Trade coffee and tea products are on display and for sale in the sanctuary but get limited attention.

Evaluation: No changes are anticipated in the financial area. We will consider purchasing Fair Trade coffee and tea for the after service coffee time and more actively promoting the sale of the Fair Trade coffee and tea products to our members.


Do you have landscaping policies that direct use of native species, landscape chemicals, etc?

Since moving into our new home we have planted shade trees around the building. We have added several perennial flower gardens and a 70-foot by 20-foot native plant garden along Sylvester Street. See the plan view in the preamble for a layout of the initial landscaping projects that have been completed. The native plant garden includes plant from the eastern Washington shrub step habitat including, several kinds of sagebrush, snow buckwheat, several native bunch grasses, rabbit brush and Oregon sunshine. The native plant garden was created last fall with tubes to periodically water the plant roots. After this summer the native plants should be established and no longer require anything beyond the natural rainfall.

Evaluation: We do not have a landscaping policy but we will consider organic fertilizers and other natural lawn care products for the landscaped portion of the facility.


What current religious education programs relate to the environment for both children and adults?

Children: The kindergarten through 5th grade RE program has focus on environment with the Experience the Web of Life program. With this RE program the children have explored nature as a source of wonder and environmental values.

Adults: In the past we have had book groups (Your Money of Your Life) which indirectly has an environmental focus but we currently have no specific adult RE programs.

Evaluation: Children education on the environment is doing pretty well, and the teachers and students have enjoyed the environmental RE lessons. We are doing well children education and simply need to continue.


How well does your worship integrate the wisdom of the Earth?

Current Status: In the last year, we have had four sermon topics specifically on or closely related to environmental issues and topics. They include the following:

  • Rev. Kathrine Jesch, Director of Environmental Ministry for Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth sermon on the Green Sanctuary program on 8/16/09

  • Other recent Sunday sermon related to earth ministry include:


Sermon Title

Sermon Given by



Mike Truex


Wisdom Culture

Shannon Hays-Truex


The Value of Open Space

Benton Franklin Open Space Coalition


Winter Solstice Celebration

Ralph Wiebe

Evaluation: We are doing pretty well in this area and simply need to continue.


How is earth caring a part of your overall social action program?

Current status: The annual Alternative Gift Fair has been huge success. Local non-profits have come together in our sanctuary, providing the opportunity for our Tri-Cities community to mingle in an alternate holiday mode to make donations to these charities as earth friendly gifts. A hallway wall has become dedicated space for communication between CUUC members and all who use our building. Painted leafy green, labeled Social Action, the “Green Wall” has begun to accumulate news, useful info, and thought-provoking pieces related to the Green Sanctuary movement. The very concept of Green Sanctuary has catalyzed the reformation of our Social Justice Action Committee. Inspired by Bill Scarvie's workshop at 2009 AGM, we have formed a book group around Korten's The Great Turning and will host a Green Sanctuary weekend with Scarvie this October.

Evaluation: The Alternative Gift Fair has been a big success. We hope the Action Plan builds on our past success of this area.


A survey of member personnel habits has been performed and results are shown below and in Attachment 2. The survey looked at sustainable living, energy conservation, transportation (majority of our CO2 emissions is from transportation), food and awareness of where your food comes from, and other earth friendly practices. The draft survey questions are listed below.

Home Energy Use

  1. Number of CFL installed in your home?_____________

  2. Is your programmable thermostat set to reduce heat/cooling when you are not at home? (YES or NO)

  3. Do you have energy star appliances? (YES or NO)

  4. Do you have an energy star or energy efficient home? (double panel windows, extra insulation, efficient heat pumps, well sealed door and windows) (YES or NO)

  5. Do you buy green power credits from your PUD to support green power projects? (YES or NO)


  1. Do you drive a hybrid car? (YES or NO)

  2. How many miles does your household drive each year? _____________

  3. What is you average MPG? _____________

  4. Do you walk or bike for errands close to home when you can? (YES or NO)

  5. Do you buy carbon offset credits? (Are you carbon neutral?) (YES or NO)


  1. Are you a member of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) produce group? (YES or NO)

  2. Do you try to buy organic foods? (YES or NO) If yes what?________________

  3. Do you buy Washington apples and other Washington grown produce? (YES or NO)

  4. Do you go to the farmers market? (YES or NO) (Pasco, Richland, Kennewick)

  5. Do you eat beef on a regularly basis? (YES or NO)

Other Earth Friendly Practices

  1. Do you use cloth grocery bags for grocery shopping? (YES or NO)

  2. Do you recycle? (YES or NO) If yes what (paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, tin)

  3. Do you use the recycling bins at church? (YES or NO)

  4. Please list other earth friendly practices that you do.

Evaluation: Surveys were distributed to congregation member as an insert in the order of service for the Sunday 8/16/09 sermon on the UUA Green Sanctuary Program. From the survey results it is estimated that the average CUUC family emits approximately 21,670 lbs of CO2 each year. With 34 member families the total congregation CO2 emissions is approximately 725,000 lbs per year. The Tri-Cities power supply is primary hydro-electric so the majority (about 65%) of our CO2 emissions is from automobile use. Positive results from the survey include that 90% of the congregation recycles, 80% of the congregation uses cloth grocery bags for grocery shopping, and we have a health awareness of buying local grown food and organic grown food. In addition, the approximately 300 compact fluorescent light bulbs that the congregation has installed right now will save about 121,000 kWh of energy over the lives of these bulbs. See Attachment 2 for the CUUC Sustainable Living Survey report.


What other environmental issues come up in discussion groups and adult education class­es, in policy proposals for the congregation, and in the local community that might be the basis for a Green Sanctuary program or activity?

Other ideas are discussed in our draft Action Plan.


Community Unitarian Universalist Church

Building Energy Audit Report


Community Unitarian Universalist Church

Sustainable Living Survey Results


Community Unitarian Universalist Church

Typical Energy & Water Bills with Monthly Use Charts