Burning fossil fuels is driving climate change in our country and is responsible for the poor air quality in our community.

Pittsburgh has some of the dirtiest air in the whole country and its impact is most heavily felt in communities of color. Thus, decreasing our church’s carbon footprint is both an environmental and a social justice issue. 

Part of our action plan is to reduce our carbon footprint by 16 metric tons per year by installing an array of solar energy collectors on the Mason Wing roof.

Our roof can support 99 collectors (380 watts each) and will generate ~40,000 kilowatt hours per year. The array will be able to generate about one third of our electricity needs, reducing our yearly electric bill as well as reducing our carbon footprint. The carbon impact will be equivalent to taking nearly 4 cars off the road.

We will dedicate the solar project in memory of the late Ray Schinhofen, a long-time church member who cared deeply about social justice issues and our church building. 

The projected cost for this project is $87,000. Our goal is to raise at least $35,000 from church members and friends by June 30, and to pay for the remainder with existing investments.

The good news is that we have already raised over $17,850. Won’t you help us to raise the rest? Contributions to the Ray Schinhofen Solar Array can be made online below (following the instructions in the blue box) or by check made out to First Unitarian Church with “Schinhofen Solar Array” noted in the memo.

Checks can be placed in the collection plate or mailed to the church office. We are asking for contributions to be made by June 30 and gifts in any amount are welcome. Please be as generous as you can.

Contact Treasurer Kyle Gracey or Finance Committee member Ward Kelsey with questions about making a donation.

Please use the form below to make your contribution. Type the amount you want to give, then click the small arrow to the right of “General Fund 2022” and select “Ray Schinhofen Solar Array” from the drop-down menu. Then follow the other instructions to submit credit card or ACH transfer information.

About Ray Schinhofen

Ray Schinhofen
Ray Schinhofen

The First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh is proud to honor the memory of the late Ray Schinhofen by officially naming our solar collectors the “Ray Schinhofen Solar Array.”

Ray Schinhofen (1935- 2021), a native Pittsburgher, received his degree in architecture from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University).

He was in private practice for over 40 years, designing residential, commercial, and institutional projects and receiving numerous awards for historic restoration and contextual historical design. In addition, Ray served on the City of Pittsburgh’s Art Commission and as Board President of the East End Food Co-op.

He was a longtime member of the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, serving on the Building Committee as well as the Green Sanctuary Team, which he helped to establish. Ray was also instrumental in having a geothermal heat pump system installed at First Unitarian, translating his environmental principles into reality.

For many years, he taught “Exploring Pittsburgh’s Architectural Heritage” for Osher at Carnegie Mellon University, bringing to the classroom what has been described as an irresistible enthusiasm for his subject and ending the course with a walking tour through downtown Pittsburgh, urging everyone to “Look up! Look up!”

We will miss Ray’s enthusiasm and his tireless efforts to make the First Unitarian Church a greener and more sustainable building.

Solar Array Fundraiser Chart
Each section of the sun’s rays that is filled in with color represents $500 in donations already made. Help us fill in all the rays to reach $35,000. As of April 7, 2022, donations totaled $17,850.