MILWAUKEE -- A century-old church is getting a modern addition -- and a Milwaukee congregation is going green.
Reverend Lisa Bates-Froiland said she believes solar energy is the way to follow the Word of the Lord both inside and outside Redeemer Lutheran Church near 19th and Wisconsin.
"We try to be faithful," said Bates-Froiland. "We know that God tells us to be kind, and smart caretakers of this planet."
The church is getting solar panels.
"I'm standing in front of a tower garden here that is complete with tons of herbs," said Bates-Froiland. "Nearby, you see a beehive. Right now, there's about 60,000 bees here on this rooftop that are working hard. Down below, there is a storm garden that is collecting rainwater so that doesn't go all in the system."
Solar panels will help as the historic church transforms into modern times, planning for future generations.
"This is a sustainability project," said Bates-Froiland. "That means this church can be here a little longer, at least longer than it would have otherwise."
Preparations for the panels were underway when FOX6 stopped by on Sunday, Sept. 1.
"We are finishing up the structural engineering on the project, because this is a very old building," said Bates-Froiland.
Trevor Sumner, a member of the church and president/co-owner of Sunbadger Solar, said a portion of the roof plane would be taken over by the installation.
"It's going to be over 60 solar panels," said Sumner. "They are going to produce just over half of the church's energy usage annually. They will be cutting this bill by about 54%."
The solar panels will help the church utilize their funds in other ways.
"We can then spend money not on an energy, but for instance, the noon run meal, which invites everybody who's hungry at noon to come and have lunch," said Bates-Froiland.
The project costs about $64,000, but church leaders found ways to offset half the costs with grants and donations from the congregation.
The project should be complete by the end of October.