Dennis Union Church was able to add 5,000 square feet of new space, renovate and add central air conditioning to their facility and still lower their annual energy bills. Thoughtful planning, assistance and rebates from local energy organizations, and technical support and information from ENERGY STAR made it all possible.
Within the United Church of Christ, Dennis Union Church (DUC) has been serving the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts since 1727. Its 1838 sanctuary dictated that all measures had to be compatible with the historic landmark building that has served as a community center to its 440 members, plus generations of residents and seasonal visitors.
The DUC congregation embarked on an ambitious $2.5 million renovation and expansion program in 2003. Concerns about energy consumption and carbon footprint mandated that the renovated building consume less energy post-renovation than it had before the addition of new square footage and air conditioning. Ultimately, in addition to new construction, approximately 2/3 of the existing facility was renovated and most of the electrical, plumbing and HVAC infrastructure was replaced.
Planning began with consultation of the ENERGY STAR Congregations website and the ENERGY STAR for Congregations Guide: Putting Energy into Stewardship. Here they were able to research building methods and products proposed by their design team as well as research product listings and studies. DUC also consulted the Cape Light Compact, a regional energy services organization. The Compact provided assistance on energy efficiency options and assistance programs, offered rebates for high-efficiency lighting and controls and conducted an energy audit of the unrenovated portion of the facility. A lengthy list of upgrades for the unrenovated space was identified, which the Compact then installed while paying 80% of their cost. The work was done by Rise Engineering which works with the Compact. Underwriting of a portion of the photovoltaic array, to power air conditioning equipment, was provided by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative through its Renewable Energy Trust.
Brad Crowell chaired the Building Committee which worked with the project architect to develop a five-part plan.
Products that have earned the ENERGY STAR were selected whenever possible. Because DUC is a congregational church, members are highly involved in the decision-making process, consistent with their faith tradition. Regular congregational meetings were held to discuss the project and the expected outcomes while weekly updates were given on project progress. On opening weekend, facility tours highlighted the energy efficiency measures.
Even with the addition of 5,000 square feet of space, an increase of more than 40% in the size of their facilities, Dennis Union Church is saving 1,308 kWh of electricity annually and has reduced their overall electric bill by $262. In total, this represents a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) of nearly 1 ton.
Cape Light Compact — Barnstable, MA
Massachusetts Technology Collaborative Renewable Energy Trust
Rise Engineering — Providence, RI
Solarworks, Inc. — Boston, MA
Brad Crowell, Chair of Building Committee
713 Main Street, PO Box 2020
Dennis, MA 02638
Phone: (508) 385-3543