Green Theology

{mosimage}Green Theology, a group led by your S.C. United Methodist Advocate, met recently to hear Ralph Jenkins, Technical Services manager of the S.C. Energy Office talk about

Ways to save your local church energy use/dollars:

Lighting –

  • Replace all incandescent exit lights with LEDs (light-emitting diode). An example of the saving: 20 fixtures, ranging from 40 watts to 10 watts, could save 5,256 kWh per year or approximately $420 annually. Bulbs may last as long at 10 years and typically have a payback of two years.
  • Have the decorating committee or trustees select a standard light color for widespread use of CFLs (compact fluorescents). As bulbs burn out, replace with CFLs.
  • As fixtures need replacement, install electronic ballasts that would replace T-12 tubes with T-8s for better economy.
  • Make sure outdoor lighting controls are operable and tightly scheduled. Photo eyes will insure they are not on when adequate light is available.
  • Motion detector lighting may be installed where appropriate, such as classrooms and restrooms.
  • Attempt to reduce wattage of spotlights in choir and sanctuary area.


Implement consistent use of matching programmable thermostats:
  • Discontinue use of the “automatic” mode.
  • Have two or more members responsible for understanding and organizing programmable thermostats.
  • Strictly adhere to programmed plan for scheduled and unscheduled areas.
  • By committee, determine a suitable override time-out period for each zone/room.
  • Disable or increase offset parameters of “Emergency Heat” for each unit.
  • General scheduling for lighting, HVAC, vending machines, water coolers, etc.
  • Develop a written policy addressing turning lights off. If a programmable thermostat is in use, have a “don’t touch” or other instructions to be signed by Boy Scouts, AA, worship committee, youth group, agencies renting space or any other groups using the building(s) regularly. You may want to show examples of energy-savings calculations to reinforce the need.
  • Efficient lighting – the “lowest hanging fruit” – and HVAC replacements need to be planned.
  • Install inexpensive battery back-up timers with contactors to control water coolers. (Why cool water at night?)
  • Motion-detector lighting controls saves energy in restrooms and is use-friendly.

Miscellaneous –

  • Some thermostats may need to be moved and/or insulated from the wall on which they are mounted.
  • Crossover ducting may be a solution to some comfort issues.
  • North-facing windows can be left with blinds open for light and minimal solar gain, whereas southern-facing windows should have as much reflection and/or insulation as feasible.
If your church is interested in having an energy audit done, the S.C. Energy Office has grants available for non-profits for an energy assessment and technical services. Visit the S.C. Energy Office’s Web site, http://www.energy.sc.gov/

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