Are the heating bills costly? Are the electricity bills expensive? Here are a few tips to improve the energy efficiency of your church.
1. Energy workbook for religious buildings
This workbook from Kairos will allow you to define your energy consumption habits, after which you will be able to compare your results from year to year.
2. Invite an energy auditor
This professional has a keen eye and will evaluate the efficiency of your religious building and make recommendations. A visit may cost around $750 but the savings you will make will soon cover the fee.
– You can explore the Energy Audit available at Greening Sacred Spaces.
– You can consult the list of providers drawn up by the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors.
3. Grants available for increasing energy efficiency
The Green Church Program is on the lookout for energy efficiency programs for religious buildings (institutions).
A list of grants offered by province is in GRANTS.
Grants come from four sources:
- The Office of Energy Efficiency in Canada
- The Energy Efficiency Agency of your province
- Your heating company
- Your power company
First objective: Time
Second objective: Space
|Coordinate meetings so that several are held the same day during the winter season. This may contribute to lower energy costs and also reduce the number of days energy is required/consumed.||Organize activities according to the space required to accomodate the number of people. For instance, it is not necessary for a small Bible study group to hold their meeting in the large sanctuary.|
Suggestions to improve the energy efficiency of the church
- Put reminders near light switches to encourage people to turn off the lights when not in use.
- Allow entry of natural light by opening the blinds and by keeping the windows clean.
- Reverse ceiling fans to reuse hot air.
- Replace standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s) or DEL’s. Your electric company may offer savings coupons.
- Insulate all pipes and ducts.
- Install programmable timers so the lights may turn off automatically at sunrise and on again at dusk (only in spaces in use).
- Install a shrinkable plastic film over windows during winter to prevent the cold from coming in.
- Install movement detectors on lights (in bathrooms for example).
- Install programmable thermostats. Your electric company may offer rebates.
- Install outlets with switches that will allow you to be able to cut the entire circuit.
- Make sure to efficiently insulate your church (i.e.: bottom of doors, around windows, caulking, etc.).
- Install radiant floors in rooms that are frequently used.
Alternative energy sources to explore
GEOTHERMAL: Capture geothermal heat from the ground via heat transfer through a circuit of plastic tubing connected to a buried ground source heat pump. There are various configurations of underground heat exchangers.
Earth Energy Society of Canada offers information on geothermal energy providers in Canada. www.earthenergy.ca
The Canadian GeoExchange Coalition promotes the use of geothermal systems in Canada. www.geo-exchange.ca
SOLAR PANELS: There are two types. The photovoltaics provide electricity (yield: 15%), and the thermal panels provide hot water (yield: 50%).
The Solar and Sustainable Energy Society of Canada is an organization of professionals, researchers and individuals with a common vision for promoting solar energy use in Canada. www.sesci.ca
WIND TURBINES: Small wind turnines (less than 300 kW) capture energy from the wind to make electricity. For churches in a windy area, this option can be very interesting.
The Canadian Wind Energy Associationprovides the information and decision-making tools you need to learn about small wind energy systems. www.canwea.ca