Energy-Saving Ideas for Churches and Nonprofitsshared values // on Thursday July 28, 2016
If your church or nonprofit is looking to cut operating costs, look no further than your monthly utility bill. When energy use isn't managed, it can be a sneaky and surprising expense. The average building wastes one-third of the energy it uses, according to ENERGY STAR®, and that waste adds up in more ways than one.
By taking a proactive approach to reducing your organization’s energy use, you’ll free up funds for the causes that matter most to your ministry or mission, and contribute to a cleaner environment. Better yet? Small steps can make a big difference. Try these moves today:
Energy-smart move: Conduct a thorough energy audit.
Why: A detailed assessment of your organization’s building and equipment identifies ways you can operate more efficiently. Many utility companies can perform an inexpensive or free audit for you, or a skilled member of your congregation or organization may be able to do it. Additionally, you can actively track your building’s energy consumption using ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager. This resource allows you to record energy and water use and set a baseline upon which to measure your future performance.
Energy-smart move: Turn off lights when you leave the room – or when natural light can brighten the room.
Why: This super-easy step can save you 10 to 40 percent on lighting expenses, according to ENERGY STAR. (And yes, this one seems like a no-brainer, but lights are often left on in unused rooms.)
Energy-smart move: Let computers rest when they’re not in use by activating their sleep mode settings. Computers will enter this low-power mode when they’re inactive for a period of time, and they’ll quickly wake when you use the mouse or keyboard.
Why: You can save $50 annually per computer, according to ENERGY STAR. Learn more here.
Energy-smart move: Give your heating and cooling equipment some TLC. This includes replacing or cleaning filters regularly, keeping evaporator and condenser coils clean, and scheduling yearly tune-ups.
Why: Dirty or damaged parts force HVAC systems to work harder to keep you comfortable. That escalates energy use and the potential for costly repairs. Routine maintenance will help keep your system running smoothly for years to come.
Energy-smart move: Upgrade your thermostat to a programmable model.
Why: Programmable thermostats allow you to create and store multiple temperature settings based on building usage to ensure your members stay comfortable during peak hours, but you’re not heating or cooling the facility when everyone goes home. If you’re not ready for a new thermostat right now, you’ll still save by remembering to set your thermostat back when your building isn’t in use.
For more energy-smart ideas, including forming an energy stewardship team, creating an energy action plan, and identifying easy, inexpensive ways to save energy in your organization, check out these resources: