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Context

A faith community in Bath, ME adopted a Carbon Neutral Vision to help it move towards its goal of carbon-neutrality, part of a larger goal to lovingly care for the earth. Their 40 year old, 22,000 sf building was largely uninsulated, and was still using the original oil boiler which was so inefficient and expensive to operate that it had been detached from most of the building and a series of more efficient yet make-shift heating strategies were being employed. While expansive and well used, the 22,000 sf building was no longer meeting the spatial needs of the community as they met for their weekly worship gatherings.

Response

Using the 2030 Challenge as a guiding framework, Kaplan Thompson Architects conducted a feasibility study which resulted in a series of recommendations for making the church building itself more efficient. The study began with a charette during which key members of the faith community shared their vision for moving forward with a carbon neutral community, and KTA presented the broad themes of deep energy retrofits as they might apply to the building. A mechanical engineer with energy modeling capabilities, and a contractor who provided estimating services were critical members of the consulting team lead by KTA. The final report presented a range of strategies which could be phased in as finances allowed, and would use increasing levels of insulation and the installation of a high efficiency HVAC system to reduce the carbon footprint of the building over time. It also included a retrofit of the South facing lobby of the building into a sunny welcoming flex space that could accommodate typical weekly services while taking advantage of great solar gain.