In the summer of 2015, the Broad Street Church of Christ attempted to save energy by moving its services from the original auditorium to the gymnasium that was constructed in 2008. For the three-month period, we saved a total of $285. That’s not a lot of dollars/cents savings. Or is it? Let’s talk about the summer 2015 church energy savings in a more detailed fashion.
Church Energy Savings
First, it should be noted that this past summer was actually hotter than any previous recorded summer. A degree day is a a statement of elevated average ambient temperature per day. For the summer of 2015, for every space we kept at 85 degrees, there were 45 degree days. At 75 degrees, there were 93 degree days.
The gist of this statement is that if we maintained the interior temperature at 85, on average, there were 45 days where the air conditioning ran regularly to hold the facility at that temperature. By turning the set point to 75 (10 degrees cooler), we would have more than doubled the run time of our units and would have greatly increased our energy bill. However, because the summer was so hot, the units ran regularly in the auditorium and no mold/mildew appeared.
There, we accomplished an energy savings under the following circumstances:
1. In a measurably hotter summer given proven techniques.
2. With one (of three) air conditioners operating dysfunctionally for part of the summer. That unit was expending energy while not cooling.
3. While maintaining larger Wednesday evening, summertime meetings with meals than we did in summer 2014.
4. While hosting missionary groups to Atlanta–a water and electricity increase.
If we monitor expenses from February to October (the available data when I wrote this report), in 2015, bills required $16250.00. The same period in 2014 was $17752.00. Only $1500 drop, but a significant change. This is especially meaningful when recognized that we saved during harder times.
Items to Share
1. I believe that 7-day thermostats helped in the classroom level. (Their cost was $150).
2. I believe 7 day thermostats would help in every space EXCEPT (probably) the office space.
3. Last fall, we sealed up tons of open gaps in the old facility. That probably helped a lot. (You could see sunlight where the roof hit the walls.)
4. Replacement of incandescent and older fluorescent bulbs in the auditorium would drastically reduce costs. We can make that space brighter and more welcoming with light bulbs and save money.
5. The building is full of phantom draw. TVs, old projectors (we have an old projector in the auditorium just drawing energy), monitors, microwaves, etc. are drawing energy all of the time. Surge protectors can address that easily.
6. Lights (in the new wing) are left on, accidentally, regularly. An investment of motion detectors might be worthwhile.
7. Recirculation fans in the auditorium might save some energy.
1960’s building codes cannot compete with the energy efficiency found in 20xx building codes and driven by modern technology. We saved money using scheduling, space planning, and electronic tools. Can we do better? Absolutely.