Reduce church energy expenses with a programmable thermostat.

Church Energy Usage Recommendations

Intro

If you haven’t already read the previous blog entries, you should read

  1. Church Energy Improvements (Part One)
  2. Continued Church Energy Improvements (Part Two)
  3. Church HVAC Efficiency (Part Three)

These posts give a pretty clear picture of what it is that we’re up against.

The Broad Street Church of Christ has been undergoing quite a bit of energy analysis. Here are some more things to summarize what we’ve learned.

First, since we use such crazy amounts of electricity, we’re considered a commercial entity. That means, that the utility uses a percentage (95%) of our peak usage to determine our electrical demand . Found at a https://harris.lagrange-ga.org/utilitydocuments/Electric%20Commercial.pdf, is a discussion of how power demand is determined for our city.

Church Energy Usage Recommendations

In speaking with one very helpful individual, he pointed out that the best thing we can try to do is to lower our electrical usage during the summer and consequently our rate (based upon demand) will be reduced on the year. We used, on average, 10,475.2 kWh/per month! So, the concept of this style of conservation can help us out considerably.

There are a few things that an HVAC installer (who focuses his efforts on churches) told me.

  1. Seven-day thermostats. There is no need to heat/cool units for mid-week events/services (say Wednesday nights) all five nights of the traditional work week. This will dramatically decrease church energy usage.
  2. You need to cycle the air periodically. Running the units (with the fan on “auto”) to heat/cool to about 4 degrees difference than the “resting” temp will pull moisture out of the air. This is a must for churches in humid climates–like GA. In a study (I’ll find the link), relative humidity (in the summer) fell below 55% when you kept the air temp at greater than 80 degrees.

The below link is a Google Document spreadsheet. In it, I have identified each and every zone of the building. From there, I created a Saturday/Sunday schedule and a MTWThF schedule.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhL08JM3LoHsdGtYbk5KcXZCbThTcG1uaEpReGt4eGc&usp=sharing

Current rest points for the winter are 55 (gas heated spaces) and 58 (heat pump spaces). In the summer, those points are 85 degrees uniformly. I’ve recently read that many churches in the far northern U.S. advocate as low as 45 degrees. I’d have to have more validation before attempting it.

Conclusion

At this point, I would find three things helpful:

  1. Links to a journal that would publish work like this–Christian/church/religious entities concerned with maximizing energy of their facilities or just sustainability (in general).
  2. Commentary from knowledgeable individuals. By this, I mean individuals who actually advise churches on energy policies for a career.
  3. Links to studies that address exactly these types of issues.

Please your thoughts/comments below in the comments section!

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