The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is installing solar panels in selected meetinghouses in Australia and some of the islands of the South Pacific, reported Pacific Newsroom.
Church officials said using renewable energy is part of the Church’s efforts to be good environmental stewards and to cut energy costs.
“God has given us all we have, so we have an obligation to use these resources wisely, and to respect the earth," said Richard Hunter, Church communication director for the Pacific Area.
Solar energy panels are on meetinghouses in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in Australia, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Tonga, American Samoa, Tahiti, Cook Islands and New Zealand.
The Church’s engineer in the Pacific Area, David Amende, told Pacific Newsroom the Church is exploring ways to utilize solar power and reduce energy demand in more meetinghouses.
“The Church has made continued efforts to promote the use of solar PV panels to reduce running costs and energy demand, where permitted by local regulations,” said Amende.
Previously in the United States, the Church unveiled its first solar-powered meetinghouse in the Northern Hemisphere in Farmington, Utah, in April 2010. The building earned Silver LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certification for implementing elements of “green” design. In May 2011, a new meetinghouse opened in Mesa, Arizona, with 143 roof-top solar panels and other features.
Officials explained at the time that the Church has used energy-saving construction materials and practices since the 1950s.