"The Benefits Of Going Green" @ St. David's Episcopal

"The kinds of things that make staff and facility managers happy because they save money and time." – Catherine Lee Doar

There are many reasons to go green and many rewards. St. David’s Episcopal Church of Austin is probably Austin’s greenest congregation at this time, their community having taken on a number of green measures in recent years. On Feb. 5th, 2013, as part of our “Getting Green Certified” symposium,* Catherine Lee Doar, LEED A.P., gave a great presentation about the kinds of green things St. David’s has accomplished, which “make staff and facility managers happy because they save money and time.”

*Learn about next symposium, “Starting & Sustaining a Green Team,” March 5th, here.

St. David’s list of highlighted projects includes: participating in the Austin Green Business Leaders program, participating in Austin Energy’s Green Choice program, participating in Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager program, replacing all the lighting in their facility with energy efficient bulbs, creating an in-house recycling program with Tri-Recycling (cardboard, mixed papers, aluminum, mixed plastics 1-5, and glass), Xeriscaping their gardens and landscaping, and building coffee mug trees (for reusing coffee mugs and eliminating Styrofoam trash). Visuals below: 

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Ms. Doar recommends participating in the Austin Green Business Leaders program as soon as possible. Why? Regardless of how green your congregation (or workplace) may or may not be Lee says the program’s scorecard certification process gives groups “a template for going further in the future” and links to resources to assist in implementing each measure.


It is the goal of St. David’s Episcopal, Austin, to become regenerative on all fronts. After a directive from their rector roughly eight years ago, the St. David’s Environmental Guild was formed. Today, St. David’s is thriving. Parishioners enjoy both Earth Day and Earth “Night” celebrations each year for the whole family, which feature art, dancing, devotionals, food, fun, and more. Worship services often involve environmental awareness and appreciation. St. David’s has Journey Groups connecting spiritual and environmental themes, electric vehicle recharging stations, an outdoor worship area, camping trips, small item recycling (such as eye glasses and cell phones), and are investigating the best ways to make significant improvements in energy use, transportation, and water conservation.

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A couple of highlights from Ms. Doar’s audience Q&A: 

Audience - "On average how many hours did you devote to the items on the Austin Green Business Leaders scorecard?"

Ms. Doar - “I actually tracked it!  It took about 24 hours altogether.  We met with clergy, the Parish Administrator, and the Facilities Manager to find out what we were doing, what we felt we could not do or was not relevant to us, and what we wanted to prioritize in the near term.  The meetings and filling out the initial scorecard only took about six hours.  The rest was assembling the documentation - mostly taking pictures and getting information from the Guild and parish staff.” 

Audience - "With the food service you provide are you composting?"

Ms. Doar - "Yes. The chef and a lot of the people who work in the kitchen take the compostable materials home."

Learn more about the St. David’s Environmental Guild here

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Learn about our March 5th symposium, “Starting & Sustaining a Green Team,” here.


© 2017 Interfaith Environmental Network