God Goes Green
A new Ulster County church is blessed with eco-friendly design features
Sustainable sanctuary: Detail of the floor mosaic in the nave
Photograph courtesy of Stephen D. Stewart-Hill
If Jesus worked in the carpentry business at present, chances are all of his houses would be “green.” So it’s not surprising that, when it came time for Christ the King Charismatic Episcopal Church in New Paltz to upgrade to bigger digs, the building team was sure to add a few new, eco-friendly elements to the design.
“I’m really into sustainable living,” says Deacon Keith Libolt, who runs his own development company, Affordable Housing Concepts, based in Gardiner. “I thought, ‘If we’re going to build this, we have to do as much as we can to reduce the energy consumption.’ ” Thus prompting the eternal question: What would Jesus do?
Enlist the help of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, of course.
“NYSERDA made this one of their pilot projects, because they’re very interested in LED [light-emitting diode] technology,” Libolt says. Almost all of the lights in the 8,000-square-foot building were replaced with low-power LEDs, reducing the electric bill by at least 70 percent. “They’re rated for over 50,000 hours,” adds Libolt, “so you literally won’t have to touch them for 20 years.”
A workman (right)
In addition, the new church boasts a radiant-flooring heating system, a solar-electric photovoltaic panel on the roof, and air-sealing Icynene® spray foam insulation. Even the stained-glass window depicting the Resurrection is energy-efficient. “We had a triple-track frame constructed for it,” says Libolt. “There’s insulated glass on the exterior, a thermal break, and the artwork on the inside, which we illuminate at night with six-watt LED lights.”
Says Libolt: “This system works very well for our needs. Plus, it makes more program money available for everything that a Christian church would normally do as part of its mission — because we prefer to put the money into people rather than things.”
Carpenter or not, we think God would approve.
Caption: Sustainable sanctuary (clockwise from top left): A workman helps install Christ the King’s radiant flooring; a detail of the specially insulated stained-glass window; a view of the finished altar