Dear friend,

With just over a month in our new space at 24 Farnsworth, I can say confidently that it’s feeling like home, a Unitarian Universalist home. It’s welcome and inviting. It’s accessible and sustainable.

Our seven principles are proudly reflected in many ways throughout the building, including many of the systems that are at work behind the scenes. I am confident that our commitment to sustainability will earn us a strong Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in the near future. LEED certification, which is awarded by the US Green Building Council, is recognized across the globe as the premier mark of achievement in green building.

As Unitarian Universalists, environmental justice is of primary importance to us. I’ve asked our Chief Operating Officer, Rev. Harlan Limpert, to share some of the ways that our new space is contributing to that cause.

In faith,

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Rev. Peter Morales

UUA President

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As we designed our new building at 24 Farnsworth Street, it was very important to us that we visibly incorporate our principles into the space. We particularly wanted to ensure that our new faith home was healthy, sustainable, and accessible. The building features multiple pathways throughout the work areas to make it easy to access all spaces, Braille signage, hearing amplification systems in the Chapel and Multipurpose Room, gender-neutral bathrooms on all floors, and floor-specific color schemes for easier orientation.To accomplish a green workspace, we enlisted one of the foremost experts on sustainable building, Jean Carroon of Goody Clancy. Under her guidance, we have moved into a space that is beautiful, inviting, and efficient. I would like to share with you just some of the sustainable practices that were implemented in the design and operation of 24 Farnsworth Street.

  • By reusing an existing building, we realized a tremendous reduction in the need for virgin materials, embodied energy, and environmental pollution.
  • Over 35% of the materials and furnishings installed contain recycled content.
  • Over 20% of the materials and furnishings installed were manufactured within 500 miles of Boston.
  • A sophisticated lighting control system dims electric lights in response to the presence of daylight, and turns lights on and off based on occupancy.
  • The use of energy-efficient light fixtures and a carefully designed lighting plan will reduce ongoing energy consumption for lighting by over 40%.
  • We have worked with the current owners of the building to update toilet room fixtures to water efficient models. This will reduce ongoing water consumption by 35%.
  • Over 90% of construction waste was diverted from the landfill by incorporating material recycling strategies.
  • Having spent 87 years at 25 Beacon, first the American Unitarian Association, and then our UUA has a long history in buildings built for them. Infrequent moves help to conserve resources, reduce waste, and eliminate negative environmental impacts. We have invested wisely in the build-out of 24 Farnsworth, and we plan to be here for a long time.
  • We have implemented a Green Cleaning Program to reduce the exposure of potentially hazardous products, equipment, or procedures associated with the cleaning and maintenance of the space.
  • In order to ensure the best possible indoor air quality, all adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, flooring materials, composite wood products, and furniture used within the space meet strict volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions limits.
  • We have implemented an Energy Star Equipment Purchasing Policy that applies to the ongoing purchase of appliances, office equipment, and electronics. This policy has resulted in an over 90% Energy Star Equipment compliance rate.

I am proud of our sustainable, inviting space, and the impact that it will have for our staff, visitors, and the earth.

As we kick off General Assembly (GA) in Providence, I also want to commend our GA planning team on their extraordinary sustainability efforts. They have been nationally recognized for their work in green conference planning, and help to provide a positive and healthy experience for all who attend. You can learn more about their efforts on the Greening General Assembly page of uua.org.

In faith,

Harlan Limpert 2

Rev. Harlan Limpert

Chief Operating Officer

 

 

 

About the Author
Sarah Cahill
Communications Assistant, Stewardship and Development at UUA