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Taking Care of Creation

Solar array earns St. Margaret’s Church Silver-Plus LEED certification

Ninety-eight solar panels now top the roof of St. Margaret’s Church formation building, already LEED silver-certified for environmental friendliness. St. Margaret’s, a congregation more than 300 years old, is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and located on the Broadneck peninsula.
    “Our vestry board supported the idea that the new building be as environmentally responsible as possible,” said the Rev. Peter W. Mayer, Rector at St. Margaret’s.
    That commitment led to many design features that, together, earned a silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.    But at $90,000, adding solar panels proved too costly for the original plans, though the fittings for a possible future installation were put in place.
    “After the building opened in fall 2015, I received a call from a donor who wished to remain anonymous,” Mayer said.
    The price was in the donor’s ballpark. So designs were sketched, numbers crunched and the solar panels went up.
    The estimated energy savings per year is close to $5,000, with an estimated carbon offset equivalent to planting 21 acres of forest.
    “God calls us to take care of creation,” Mayer said. “Offsetting our carbon footprint by going solar is the least we can do as a community.”