Woodmont Christian Church, in Nashville, Tennessee is a certified Cool Congregation at the 10% reduction level, saving 67 tons of carbon emissions annually. The 2500-member church accomplished this by upgrading its lighting and monitoring thermostats and lighting use. This accomplishment is their first step towards their goal to answer the call by their denomination’s Green Chalice program to significantly reduce emissions by 2030.
Clay Stauffer, the lead pastor at Woodmont writes, “Woodmont is honored to receive this important recognition and we will continue to work hard to be a Green Chalice Church and environmentally friendly congregation.”
Read their story in the words of church member Steve Vining,
“Our pastor, Clay Stauffer asked me to start a Green Chalice Ministry chapter in 2019. This is the environmental stewardship ministry for the First Christian Christian Church. The mission of Green Chalice at Woodmont is to connect Christian faith, spiritual practice, and Christian fullness in order to better care for God’s creation. Activities centered on increasing recycling, resource conservation, and education about best practices.
After recruiting our members, we worked with the church maintenance staff to look for ways to reduce energy consumption and Waste. This effort was led by Sam Marsh at our church, who deserves most of the credit for the improvements we’ve documented in this submission. Additions and upgrades to existing facilities are all done with an eye to maximize energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions.
We chose to apply for certification for our work on the original part of the church called the “Sanctuary and Mansion”. This facility totals about 58,000 square feet and was built between 1943 and 1980.
One of our first steps was to examine our current energy usage (gas and electricity) to determine our baseline, and to have the utility, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), conduct an energy audit of our facility. The result of the audit caused us to convert all lighting to LED in 2020 and to focus on reducing waste by closely monitoring thermostats and lighting use at the church.
The project cost was around $50,000 for the work done between 2019-2022, and the savings are calculated to be around $10,900 per year. We are also saving approximately 83,400kWh of electricity and 9,846 therms per year, resulting in 67 tons of carbon emissions saved, or a 14.5% reduction in emissions, earning us the Cool Congregations Certification Award of 10% and above.
The TVA audit also identified a number of air conditioning units which were 20 years old, some even older, which are in the process of being replaced. The church recently committed to replacing a 110 ton chiller and seven rooftop air conditioning units totaling approximately 35 tons capacity early in 2023.
A major addition to the church was also completed in 2021 which greatly improved energy efficiency in the newer portion of the church.
Woodmont Christian Church hopes to submit for a 20% reduction in emissions in the future once the new heating and air conditioning equipment is installed and we’ll have had three years to see how the new, highly energy efficient chapel impacts the total facility performance.”
Dan Joranko, who leads Tennessee Interfaith Power & Light writes, “Congratulations to Woodmont Christian Church for being Tennessee Interfaith Power and Light’s first new Cool Congregation in several years!”