The moment has arrived for the congregation to begin gathering in its new digs on N. Druid Hills Road! Climate Action Team co-leader Nicole Haines and I toured the campus several weeks ago before assembling a basic recycling center for the social hall. Project Phoenix’s DeAnn Peterson pointed out details we might have missed and gave us dozens of reasons to be thrilled about our new church home.

Here are some of those details that delight the Climate Action Team and should please everyone who cares about the implications of the UU seventh principle: respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

  • Both floors of the educational wing have a bottle filler alongside traditional water fountains.
  • The high-efficiency VRF (variable refrigerant flow) HVAC system allows each room to be independently controlled and programmed.
  • All lighting fixtures are LED, and overhead lights in classrooms, offices, bathrooms, and even stairwells operate with motion detection sensors. We won’t be wasting power!
  • Toilets, sinks, and soap dispensers in the (super nice) unisex bathrooms are all sensor-controlled.
  • Except for a handful of existing round “porthole” windows, the entire facility’s windows have been replaced with high efficiency windows.
  • Spray foam insulation was used throughout and provides a R-38 insulation value.
  • An attractive vestibule added to the sanctuary entrance helps minimize HVAC loss. 
  • The master landscape plan includes a community garden space as well as a pollinator garden.
  • A bike rack awaits those who are ready to forego a car trip.
  • Natural gas lines were removed from the property, so we are 100% electric.
  • Several trees were saved from construction areas and relocated near the playground.
  • Conduit is in place to connect to the existing electrical panel for future installation of solar.
  • The electric vehicle (EV) charging station vaults are ready for the installation of charging consoles, which should be in place within the next month.
  • Reusable mugs will be used for social hour to prevent needless disposable waste.
  • Small blue recycling containers made it from Cliff Valley to serve our administrative spaces.
  • Rain barrels and compost tumblers were saved from our old home and should work well in the (future) community garden.

You will find dozens of other reasons to smile when you see the renovation. The cool wall feature in the reception area fashioned from the wooden panels from the Cliff Valley’s stairwell? The LED-backlit stained glass window niche? The party lights criss crossing the social hall’s ceiling? The rounded entry vestibule with its gallery walls? The elevator’s colorful status lights? The art room? The brick columbarium and dry creek bed bridge and fieldstone touches in the memorial garden?

We have so many people and so much to celebrate and appreciate in this new congregational home. And it serves as a reminder of the deep gratitude we feel for our larger home that motivates us to save and savor the Earth.