Reduce church energy expenses with a programmable thermostat.

Reducing Church Energy Expenses

Introduction

I often address tools that can be used when helping an organization or a company improve the energy efficiency of their facilities.  Three years ago, in a four part series beginning with https://realsuddenlike.com/energy-maximization-of-a-church-building-part-one/, I wrote about things we had to accomplish at my current church home, the Broad St. Church of Christ.  A recent discovery helped by reducing some of our church energy expenses.

Reducing Church Energy Expenses

Making up 11 of our 13 thermostats, the Honeywell FocusPro 6220D (an affiliate link) was the thermostat used by the HVAC experts upon the assembly of our church building.  I downloaded the user manual (found at https://customer.honeywell.com/resources/techlit/TechLitDocuments/69-0000s/69-1920EFS.pdf) and found some useful information on pages 6 and 7 that would incredibly change the efficiency of our structure.

By default, the thermostat runs a 5+2 schedule.  What this means is that the thermostat runs one schedule (typically four periods) each day, Monday through Friday, with a second schedule for Saturdays and Sundays.  This schedule is perfect for office buildings which are active through the work week but that are vacant on the weekends.  For churches, that work on Sunday, this schedule is actually problematic.  By defaulting to the 5+2 option, this meant that in order to heat/cool on Sunday, Saturday was heating/cooling in the exact same way.  We created another 52(ish) days of heating/cooling away from the idle state throughout the year.

However, in the user manual, at setting 16 you can change the thermostat to run a 5+1+1 schedule.  This implies that there is a standard schedule that runs each day, Monday through Friday.  Then there is one schedule (four periods) for Saturday and another schedule for Sundays.  By making this simple setting switch many parts of our facility can run at the idle state (85 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, 55 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter) for 85.7% of the week vs. 71.4% of the time. It meant that the primary office, which would be cool on M-F and Sunday now had a 14% downtime (Saturdays) versus zero downtime in the previous configuration.

In order to help others do this, I created a video, posted it on my YouTube channel, and posted it below in this blog post.

Conclusion

For some groups/organizations/people, this change can represent significant savings.  It should be noted that not every thermostat from Honeywell has this setting and that, if you’re managing a significant facility, this setting creates another day of creating, staggering, and maintaining schedules that don’t increase current draw.  However, in the end, we believe that we significantly changed the quantity of energy that our building uses.

If you have questions or comments, feel free to leave them below!

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