Houses of Worship Practice What They Preach
First Baptist Church of Dallas
Churches and congregations all over North Texas are committing to being good environmental stewards, as their religious principles encourage. From being intentional about U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in their construction projects, conducting regular recycling events and environmental education for their members, here are a few that are leading the way.
First Baptist Church of Dallas
1707 San Jacinto, Dallas
The new First Baptist campus is part of an extensive and impressive ongoing revitalization of downtown Dallas where the church chose to avoid being part of suburban sprawl and rebuild smarter. With the demolition of six antiquated buildings and addition of a new worship center, the Horner Family Center and a parking garage connected by a sky bridge, the iconic campus has received LEED Silver certification. The building is designed to face north to capture lighting from the expansive windows, further reducing energy cost. As part of its green commitment, the new First Baptist campus also opened up three-quarters of an acre of prime downtown Dallas land for public space.
6808 Pastor Bailey Drive, Dallas,
An 87,000-square-foot addition to Concord Church, with a worship center that holds 3,500 people, is LEED certified and includes low volatile organic compound (VOC) finishes, low-flow toilets and sinks, energy-saving lighting and many regional and recycled materials. The worship center contains fabric wrapped panels that hide conduit and other building essentials from view and help reduce the carbon footprint, in addition to serving as an acoustic damper. The addition also houses a pastor suite, an administrative area, conference rooms, a bookstore, baptistery and a lobby that connects to the older church facility. The exterior features an elegant cross tower and prayer garden featuring recycled material and native plants.
First Unitarian Church of Dallas
4015 Normandy Avenue, Dallas
Armed with an endowment to help fund green initiatives, First Unitarian of Dallas has fully embraced the Unitarian Universalist Church Green Sanctuary accreditation program. To help raise awareness and encourage members to start or continue on the path of living more lightly, the program requires participating congregations to complete 12 projects in four areas: environmental justice, religious education, sustainable living and worship services. In addition to a new wing achieving LEED certification, First Unitarian also hosts e-waste collections, environmental speakers and seminars, and has puts on an annual Green Fair.
Christ United Methodist Church
3160 East Spring Creek Paw, Plano
Behind the strikingly beautiful stained glass windows, Christ United Methodist Church made an intentional commitment to environmental stewardship when building their new sanctuary. The first church in North Texas to receive LEED Silver certification, superior features include low-flow toilets and sinks, waterless urinals, low-VOC finishes; extra insulation, energy-efficient lighting fixtures and state-of-the-art air conditioning and heating systems that significantly reduce energy use and has halved their gas and water bill. The facility also used regionally sourced and recycled materials in its construction and drought-tolerant landscaping.