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Prairie Unitarian Universalist Society
- Leader
The Prairie Unitarian Universalist Society of Madison has long been committed to living lightly on the earth. When it recently decided to take its commitment to a higher level—by applying for accreditation in its denominational Green Sanctuary Program—renewable energy was a critical component.

"To qualify for the program, we're taking part in a series of processes and projects that address both energy conservation and socially responsible environmental practices," said Al Nettleton, chair of the church's housing and property committee. "We developed a 12-project action plan designed to help us achieve accreditation, and three projects specifically address decreased energy consumption and increased use of renewable energy."

The first is socially responsible/green investing. "Being part of Green Power Tomorrow reflects our values as a church," said Nettleton.

Prairie Unitarian Universalist Society is participating in the program at the Leader level, which means 100% of its electricity is provided by renewable sources. It will save nearly eight tons of carbon dioxide and over 5,000 tons of coal each year.

To decrease energy consumption, Prairie Unitarian Universalist Society plans to bump up insulation levels, replace inefficient light fixtures and put heat and exterior lighting on timers. They also recently participated in an energy efficiency audit and plan to implement the most cost-effective recommendations, which include stopping some air infiltration and appliance and lighting upgrades.

The last renewable energy project is the exploration of a photovoltaic system installation. "We have excellent southern exposure and space for the panels," said Nettleton. "We're in the process of learning whether this is a logical choice for us."

Other projects in their Green Sanctuary Program include education to increase awareness of environmentally friendly choices such as community supported agriculture and sustainable food, revision of an existing prairie, installation of butterfly and rain gardens and an "energy challenge" to reduce consumption by individual members.

"We're very excited to be part of Green Power Tomorrow," said Nettleton. "It reflects the commitment that we made when we founded our community in 1967. Within our Bond of Union we state, 'As the prairie stretches out until it becomes one with the sky, let us reach out to touch and be one with the natural world, and with one another.' "
Thank you,
Prairie Unitarian Universalist Society
, for supporting Green Power Tomorrow.

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