First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis (FUS) was built in the 1950s. Over the years, many of the building system controls have been disabled. Numerous no- and relatively low-cost recommissioning measures restored control to the building’s warm air distribution and domestic hot water systems. An online slide show details the problems that were corrected.
A relatively inexpensive ($7,200) Internet-accessible control system was added to the heating and ventilating system. The conversion kept the original pneumatic controls for steam valves and dampers in place. The new controls signal the existing pneumatic system to operate as needed.
The team added winter window treatments to single glazed, and very leaky, aluminum-framed windows installed in 1953. Where possible, windows were covered with temporary plastic. Where accessible, windows were caulked with a food-grade and odorless caulk. FUS hopes to replace the windows with higher R-value windows in the future.
Communication with the congregation about the ENERGY STAR National Building Competition has created an appreciation for and discussion about the very real impacts of energy conservation – environmentally and financially. The competition has energized the members of FUS and caused the team to think more creatively and enthusiastically about additional steps that can be taken.
The team put up signs around the building and posted news of participation and the building’s Top Contender status in the organization’s electronic newsletter.
On May 13, 2011, fourteen enthusiastic participants toured the building and brainstormed a list of additional energy conservation recommendations. On May 29, 2011 FUS hosted a Sunday discussion titled “FUS energy savings -- $10,000 down: How much further can we go?” to inspire more energy conservation measures and brainstorm additional energy-saving ideas.
On August 18, 2011 the team held a public event for other houses of worship and the media to learn about the energy-saving measures put in place at FUS and how the improvements were financed. The City of Minneapolis’ Director of Sustainability attended, and the event will be repeated in September.
Learn more about all 245 buildings, by visiting the competitor flash wall!