In 2006, Real Life Church (RLC) in Valencia, Calif., purchased 10 acres of land and launched into an ambitious construction project on an environmentally friendly, subterranean facility featuring a 1,200-seat auditorium, children’s areas and a coffee house. Part of the church’s sustainable practice was to apply for LEED certification. Executive Pastor Jeremy Vanderlinden explains that this endeavor went part and parcel with the church’s desire to remain progressive.
“We obviously think it is our responsibility as a follower of Jesus to do our part and take care of God’s creation in our everyday lives, but we wanted to give everyone a way to do this from the ground up and see every Sunday what their sacrifice has helped build,” Vanderlinden recounts. “Another benefit is, I think we are going to love the lower monthly payments as well.”
The process, however, hasn’t been easy, Vanderlinden admits. “LEED costs quite a bit more and takes more time,” he notes. Churches considering LEED certification should be prepared to set aside a larger budget that accounts for paperwork and administration. They should also take into account longer construction times. “Finding sustainable and recycled material is harder,” he says. “Even though more suppliers are providing this option now, it is still new and you need to have creative people on your team willing to go the extra mile to find [sustainable materials].”
At press time, RLC expected to move into its new facility and begin worshipping there in spring of 2010.