Far too often, when we talk about how to save operational dollars at our church, we think about cutting back on staff, benefits, refinancing debt, etc. These are very viable options … but are not our only options. There are many things related to your facility that should be considered, and here are a few:
1. Change your set points (temperature)– For each degree you lower your thermostat (for heat); you will lower your utility bill by an average of 1%. In cooling mode, each degree you set your thermostat above 75 degrees Fahrenheit cuts your cooling costs by 3%
2. Use programmable thermostats – According to Energy Star (www.energystar.gov), you can save about 8% a year by properly setting a programmable thermostat (vs. a manual thermostat) and maintaining those settings. Sounds like real money…
3. Move to some form of building automation – Now, don’t let this overwhelm you as there are several different levels of complexity associated with the generic term “building automation system”(BAS). This can be as simple as “Communicating Thermostats” or as complex as a web-based interface system.
4. Interface your HVAC system with your Room Scheduling Software – Most of the independent Room Scheduling software programs available to the church market now offer some form of interface. It is projected that these types of solutions can reduce energy consumption by 10%-20% to even greater savings depending on your current system configuration.
5. Replace inefficient light bulbs – There are so many great options available to us today. I am still blown away at what the energy savings can be with just changing out light bulbs. For example, consider an Energy Star Qualified Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb (CFL). They can save more than $40 in electricity costs over their lifetime, uses about 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs, lasts up to 10 times longer, and produces about 75% less heat—so it’s safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with cooling a facility. So, don’t forget about incorporating T8 fluorescent bulbs … more savings.
6. Incorporate occupancy sensors – These can save 20%-50% of the energy used in these spaces.
7. Switch from night to day cleaning – This is going to sound very radical to many of you … but this is the current trend in office, health care and many other secular settings. Think about it: if you do night cleaning, you are burning lights and keeping temperatures at a reasonable temperature to just clean the facility. But what if you could save 10%-15% in energy consumption … would you do it?
Start incorporating these items and enjoy the savings. Who wouldn’t want to save operational dollars that can be reallocated back into ministry initiatives? Sounds like a no-brainer…”creation care 101″…plain and simple