They call themselves Latter-day Saints. We know them as Mormons. They have seen the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We now see that Mormons may be the America’s greenest parishioners. All theology aside, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is heartily embracing Ecology by installing solar power systems on five of its meetinghouses in the Southwest, beginning in Utah.
Installation began late last month on a solar power system at a new meetinghouse in Farmington, Utah. The solar array will provide enough energy to power the entire building, saving the church roughly $6,000 per year. “It’s about creating a place of worship that works in harmony with the environment,” said Presiding Bishop H. David Burton in a press release. Four other meetinghouses are scheduled for solar installations in Eagle Mountain, Utah, Apache Junction, Arizona, Logandale, Nevada and Pahrump, Nevada.
Apparently these solar panels are far from the first step the LDS Church has taken toward eco-friendliness. According to a time line on the Church’s website they’ve been at it since the 1950s, when they began building churches using passive cooling design and started harvesting rainwater for irrigation in the Pacific. In 1971 the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City installed an efficient heating and cooling system that tapped into underground spring wells. In the 1980s a Susanville, California meetinghouse began producing all its heat using geothermal energy. The list goes on with several smaller steps, including moisture and sunlight sensors to efficiently monitor and operate sprinkler systems.
Getting back to the present, the Farmington solar meetinghouse will do more than just provide power. The Church also plans to educate its members about the advantages of going green, including the use of a monitor to measure how much power the solar array is providing and to teach families about power consumption. Upon completion, all five solar meetinghouses will be LEED-certified.
Thanks to Sundance Channel’s SUNfiltered blog for enlightening us to the existence of solar powered Mormons.
Photo Credit: LDS Newsroom