First Passive Solar Church in America is Being Built by Adventist Congregation in New York
by Monte Sahlin
By Adventist Today News Team, December 11, 2013
The Kinderhook Seventh-day Adventist Church is building a new facility which is "the nation's first house of worship to fully implement passive building standards," according to a report from Columbia-Greene Media. Passive design is based on a concept from Germany that replaces conventional fossil-fuel heating plants with a combination of sunlight, internal heat sources and heat recovery technology.
The use of passive solar heating will reduce the carbon emissions from the new 6,000-square-foot building to 38 percent of the limit in the construction code in New York state. Instead of the boiler, pipes and radiators in a conventional fossil-fuel heating plant, a passive solar system has a single post heating coil with windows, a highly-insulated roof and foundations, heavily-insulated outside walls, and heat-trapping ventilation technology that recycles heat from the exhaust.
The United States Green Building Council is in hopes that more congregations of all faiths will follow the example of this Adventist group. The council plans for more outreach to faith-based organizations, according to Jodi Smits Anderson, director of Sustainability Programs for the New York State Dormitory Authority and a delegate to the council's recent national meeting in Philadelphia.
Green construction "affects everybody, and everybody needs to be involved in building them," Smits Anderson told Columbia-Greene Media reporter Joe Gentile. The New York "Department of Taxation saves $3.5 billion a year" because of green and sustainable facilities, Smits Anderson stated.
The Member of the United States Congress from the area, Rep. Chris Gibson, affirmed the congregation's choice of green construction. He mentioned the energy that the U.S. must import and said "we must do better," referring to the Adventist project as an example of how to reduce American dependence on overseas oil. He pointed to "God-given talent" at the heart of the project.
"We are joyful [for] this design," Pastor Anton Kapusi was quoted in the news report. The green construction is part of the witness of the congregation he indicated. "We are making this place a beacon of light, of truth and health for the community we live in."
Dennis Wedlick is the architect for the project and construction is expected to be completed before the end of 2014. "When you're doing it so precisely and so carefully, you create an equilibrium, a body at rest," Wedlick told Columbia-Greene Media. "And I think that's such a perfect, perfect metaphor for this building: peace."
The Kinderhook Church has 88 members according to the online directory of Adventist congregations. It is located in an outer suburb of Albany, New York, the state's capital city, but it is affiliated with the Greater New York Conference which covers the New York City metropolitan area.