Southeastern Synod ELCA

Consider Starting a Green Team

Dave - April 27, 2018
Have you looked at your Church budget?   If you are like many churches you spend more on utilities than outreach.   To flip this around has your Church considered a “Green Team” to see how you can cut your utility spending?   Not only will you save money, allowing you to spend more on outreach, but the environment will benefit as well.

Holy Trinity Lutheran in Kingsport TN started a “Green Team” in 2015.   We received a grant of $500 from the Southeastern Synod Green Team who offers grants to get you started.   Initially the property committee was hesitant as they thought they were doing a great job with our building and grounds.   They were, but they did participate, and we all learned several things in the process.   We found that our refrigerator was using $380/year in energy.   A new energy star refrigerator reduced the expense to $48.    We had many lights that were on 24/7, for safety or ambiance, that we quickly swapped to LED lights.   We added timers on some of our coffee pots, and saw our electricity costs drop $1700 the first year.   Suddenly the property committee was now fully on board and they started their own energy audits at their homes as well.

Building on that success we changed a lot more lights to LEDs, we combined 3 half full freezers into 2.  Savings climbed to $3,000 and the energy task force was in full swing.  We then upgraded the high Sanctuary lights, swapping 300W incandescent for a 26W LED Night Chaser from Sylvania.   For the first time in history we have gone over 6 months with all lights still working.   An advantage of the LED lights is they last 25,000 hours - far more than the 1,200 hours of the old incandescent bulbs we replaced EVERY year, saving lots of labor moving pews and working our 45’ lift.

Overall our electric bill is down 24% with savings of $4,000/year.   Additionally, that is saving 26 tons of CO2 each and every year.   As Genesis 2:15 says “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”  So, as we take care of our buildings, let’s be sure to take care of the “Garden” God has entrusted to us.