Setting the green standard for community landmarks
In the heart of Toronto, Beach United Church is not just a place of worship; it stands as a beacon for environmental initiatives. Signature Electric’s Mark Marmer joined Ron Fitton, Chairman of Solar Energy for Beach Co-op Inc., at their inaugural EcoFair to explore their sustainable efforts.
“Below the surface lies a two-foot layer of coarse gravel,” Ron explains, showcasing the church’s innovative parking solution. Above this gravel, a grid system created from recycled plastic bags supports paving bricks made from repurposed tires. This design proactively addresses urban flooding by absorbing stormwater, avoiding reliance on Toronto’s primary storm system.
Solar energy solutions in action
When Beach United renovated the church a few years back, they smartly integrated conduit lines for a rooftop solar system. This efficient setup provides shelter and generates a remarkable 50 kilowatt-hours of electricity daily. As Ron notes, surplus energy is then supplied to Toronto’s grid, which can power up to five neighbouring homes.
Efficiency inside and out
The church’s dedication to sustainability isn’t limited to the outside. Inside, smart adjustable window shades mitigate sunlight to reduce the dependency on air conditioning. The HVAC system draws in fresh external air, cooling the interior without additional energy.
Preserving history, embracing nature
The church makes eco-friendly decisions with both the future and the past in mind. A chimney—set to be removed—was saved to keep the home of a Chimney Swift family intact. “Why would we disturb them for a few dollars and some electricity?” says Ron. It’s a clear nod to Beach United’s commitment to the environment.
The EcoFair: A community celebration of sustainability
Ron emphasizes the community’s central role: “The community steers the solar co-op management. It symbolizes our outreach.”
The inaugural EcoFair goes beyond the church’s projects. It features vendors from local food vendors to electric charger setups and bike fixes.
Signature Electric is proud to partner with Beach United Church in championing these initiatives. By blending tradition and innovation, we can build a future where sustainability is standard, not the exception.