Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel in New Haven, Connecticut, remains committed to its energy savings goals and upgrade planning started back in 1999, for which BEKI won an ENERGY STAR award last year. Initially, the congregation identified lighting as offering the greatest energy savings potential in its 33,000 square foot facility, and started with lighting. This year, BEKI replaced a 40-year-old A/C unit, which was financed through the vendor. It is estimated that the new unit will save BEKI more than $6,000 this year—and their annual payment will be less than their repair bills for the old unit. The 35,714 kWh saved will prevent about 61,642 pounds of CO2 emissions annually. Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen says that energy efficiency and environmental concern are key parts of the stewardship of creation.
At this church in Taylor Mill, Kentucky, stewardship includes taking care of the earth as well as their funding. Of the total 18,400 square foot facility, about 3,600 square feet is an adjoining elementary school. The church has made many improvements over the years, including a new high-efficiency HVAC system, adding ceiling fans, installing computerized setback thermostats, installing LED exit signs and emergency lighting, and generally reducing the energy load. The church’s first cost-saving changes were made out of necessity. Two such examples were replacing a malfunctioning heating and air-conditioning system and installing new exit lights. The church says that once they saw the cost savings from projects that were forced upon them they had the confidence to make some additional changes based solely on increased energy efficiency.
Additionally, by changing the outside lighting to high-efficiency equipment with photocells, the church has increased safety and security while reducing cost and maintenance labor. Adam Palmer, the Building Committee Chairman, says that he also thinks that it improves the appearance of the building at night. Finally, after seeing annual savings of more than $2,700, the church is planning even more energy efficiency upgrades. Covington stands out as a shining example of what can be accomplished by a congregation that is dedicated to stewardship. The 21,740 kWh saved will prevent about 48,154 pounds of CO2 emissions annually. Mr. Palmer says, “While we initially had to overcome doubt among some members of the congregation, they soon became convinced once the energy reduction planning resulted in real, measurable financial and environmental benefits.”
St. Elizabeth Church in Wyandotte, Michigan is in the forefront of teaching its members about exciting new technologies for implementing energy upgrades. In July 1997, the 19,800 square foot church contracted with an engineering firm to do a study that would help it become more energy efficient. The church took the firm’s recommendations and has sought to implement all that were feasible. Some of the changes include: a new boiler, replacement of incandescent lamps with halogen, air/heat ballast installation, an energy-efficient air-conditioning unit, and low-flow toilets.
The church is also planning to install solar shingles on the rectory garage roof for a basic photovoltaic system, and a solar thermal system to provide hot water in the rectory. The church estimates that two-thirds of its hot water needs will be handled by this system and that through energy savings they will recoup capital costs in five years. So far, the congregation has experienced more than $11,000 a year in energy savings, and the 114,285 kWh saved will prevent about 227,199 pounds of CO2 emissions annually. Father Charles M. Morris says, “The greatest piece of advice we can make to any congregation is to invest in a competent energy audit done by a reputable firm—and then follow through with the recommendations.”
The Sikh Religious Temple in Palatine, Illinois has completed its new energy-efficient addition, with the voluntary assistance of National Engineering Services, Inc. The Temple added water-saving taps, photocontrol switches, motion sensing control switches and a high-efficiency HVAC system. The Temple made sure that it used only energy efficient lighting by installing fluorescent fixtures and high intensity metal halide fixtures. Additional savings will come from the installation of water, heating, lighting, insulation and energy efficient motors and the low air-infiltration building shell.
Mr. Santokh S. Salluja, President of National Engineering Services and leader of the voluntary work, is still monitoring for actual numbers, but expects savings of about $720 a month, or a 12% reduction, and says, “The accumulation of small savings in systems design encourages affordable systems for people and an increase in the quality of life for all.”
This 35,000 square foot church in Ames, Iowa has made a commitment to stewardship of congregational funds as well as of the environment. Energy efficient improvements are saving about $5,000 annually. The 71,428 kWh saved will prevent about 100,286 pounds of CO2 emissions annually. Bethesda Lutheran recently replaced incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps and installed computer controls to schedule rooms for heating and cooling when occupied. They also purchased new energy-efficient freezers for the food pantry and kitchen and installed new storm windows over the stained glass windows. The congregation says that the rooms are more comfortable, the lighting of halls is better, and its gas and electric bills are lower. Lloyd Lockhart, Bethesda Lutheran’s business administrator, says, “The rooms are more comfortable, lighting in the halls is good, and our gas and electric bills are lower.”