After addressing energy-efficiency opportunities available in your facility, you may also want to consider renewable energy and green power. Renewable energy refers to electricity supplied from energy sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, and biomass. These energy sources are considered renewable sources because they are continuously replenished.
Employing energy-efficient technology such as ENERGY STAR qualified products can help reduce emissions (air pollution) from power plants that produce energy. Carbon dioxide emission is a primary cause of global climate change, sulfur dioxide is a key component of acid rain, and nitrogen oxide is responsible for smog.
The intent of energy-efficient design for new construction and/or remodeling is to utilize efficient equipment while optimizing the use of natural energy sources. The ultimate goal is to provide increased comfort with reductions in energy costs and greenhouse gas pollution.
You may not think of your congregational facility’s paper use as an area to save energy, but it is. Paper manufacturers in the U.S. consume a significant amount of energy each year in the production of paper — not to mention the energy spent harvesting and shipping trees, and shipping paper products to your facility. There are some simple steps you can follow to optimize your use of this valuable resource that will save money, reduce waste, protect our nation's forests and reduce energy consumption!
It does not matter what type of facility you have or run — there is some amount of material you use that can be recycled. From aluminum cans, and glass and plastic bottles, to paper and printer toner cartridges, recycling reduces the amount of waste materials that are put in landfills or incinerated while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. That's good for everybody! Ask your building management or waste handler about recycling opportunities.
You may wonder what water use and saving energy have to do with each other? In most cases, electricity or gas is used to heat water, and this costs you money. In addition, your water company uses energy to purify and pump water to your facility as well as in the treatment of your sewage. So part of your water and sewage bill is really an energy bill. The more water your facility consumes, the more you will benefit from optimizing water use.
A movement that began in the 1950s and has grown more widespread over the years is the mega-church. Mega-churches are large churches that have 2,000 or more worshippers for a typical service. These churches have large structures and parking lots that are able to accommodate the huge numbers of worshipers they attract. Many mega-church facilities are more akin to a theater or arena, with high-tech lighting, sound and video systems. In addition to a sanctuary/worship space, mega-church facilities can contain other space types such as retail, restaurant or office.
Additional resources are available to find out more information on energy technologies.