Dear Unitarian Universalist Church West,

I cannot believe that it has been 10 years since I joined. I am so happy with all the improvements that have been completed since joining UUCW in 2017. That’s also when I joined the campus committee and started becoming more involved here.

I have had a passion for repairing, maintaining, and improving buildings. Being a home repair specialist, and home inspector who learned of building performance in 2021, and a level thermography. It became evident at the Christmas Eve service of 2022 that got me thinking about how to improve our Sanctuary. We as a congregation cared about our energy usage and being a green Sanctuary, put together a plan to update the Sanctuary insulation envelope in 2024.

Now for the past 3 years, we have been enjoying the many benefits of a properly air-sealed attic and duct work. Besides saving on heating and cooling costs year-round, we now never see large icicles hanging off the south side of the building. When it’s a frosty morning the roof stays covered with the frost. The air supply from our ductwork isn’t leaking into the attics or exterior but is delivered more efficiently into our Sanctuary. All these improvements have allowed us, the congregation to not need our jackets during service, like on the Christmas Eve service of 2022 at -10°F

How did we occur? In 2017, I climbed into the attics and found exposed noncontact chicken wire-covered can lighting. These little chimneys are what made it so drafty which was noted when in 2024 as we looked at the areas with thermal imaging with a blower door test. Then the volunteers did some hard work prepping the area for the professionals to complete the air sealing of the attic areas and duct work present in the space. The added value and air tightness can be enjoyed by everyone for the rest of our building’s life.

This one-time investment has resulted in savings on heating and cooling costs for the rest of the buildings’ life. The return on investment would be within 10 years. Of course, this depends on how rates change. The human-induced climate change has continued to have large swings in temperatures with severe weather, but we no longer worry about those for we are well prepared in the Sanctuary.

UUCW has evolved with many changes since its start. I look forward to continuing to improve and maintain our building as much as I am able with the help of so many others involved in this congregation.

Dave Gross