Located in Gowen, MI
12,000 sq. ft. church
Annual Savings: $8,400
Annual Energy Savings: 41,285 kWh
Payback Period: about 6–8 months
Prevented 82,000 lbs. of pollution
“All in all, every change was worth the cost and trouble. Everyone in our organization became more aware of costs and now practice better conservation.”—Dennis J. Dombkowski of Settlement Lutheran Church
The Settlement Lutheran Church in Gowen, MI, has discovered that careful implementation of energy efficiency measures quickly pays for themselves and frees up money to be used for other church projects and programs. Through a comprehensive energy savings and conservation plan, the church has been able to reduce its gas and electric bills by an estimated $700 per month. With savings that high, the initial cost of the investment was recovered in about seven months.
In recognition of its success in lowering energy consumption while maintaining a comfortable atmosphere for its congregation, the Settlement Lutheran Church received a year 2000 ENERGY STAR for Congregations Award.
Dennis J. Dombkowski of Settlement Lutheran Church says the church installed a number of energy efficiency and conservation measures. For starters, old magnetic ballasts for fluorescent fixtures were replaced with new, high-efficiency electronic ballasts. High-pressure sodium lighting was installed outside the building to cast protective light over the grounds and to ensure safe parking. In addition, lighting was reduced in areas that were being overlit.
The church installed a high-efficiency furnace and air-conditioning units for space heating and cooling. To reduce the load on the heating and cooling equipment, 6 inches of overhead insulation was installed, plexiglass was placed over windows to increase insulation (and with the added benefit of increasing security), blinds were placed over windows to control the flow of solar heat, and trees were planted to increase shade on the building, among other measures.
To ensure that the church’s investment in energy efficiency continues to pay off down the road, it has set up a maintenance schedule to ensure that all equipment is operating at maximum efficiency.
Dombkowski says the main obstacle was the price of some of the energy efficiency measures the church undertook, but that the church’s investment was recovered in about seven months. Now all the energy savings generated by the energy efficiency measures over the years can be used to fund other church projects, programs, and activities.
Because of its many efforts to save energy and reduce the production of pollution caused by generating electricity while maintaining and even improving the comfort and safety of its building, the Settlement Lutheran Church received a year 2000 ENERGY STAR for Congregations Award.