Churches, much like our own lives, encompass the entirety of existence, and every nook and cranny has the potential to contribute to the care of God’s earth. This encompasses everything from church buildings and land administration to our worship and teaching. It also includes our involvement in the local community and our ways of living.
The undertaking may appear impossible, but your church will join many Christian congregations of varying religious persuasions wishing to make a difference and responsibly steward their resources. Here are ten simple ways your church can begin being more environmentally friendly and celebrating God’s creation.
Conduct an Energy Audit
An “energy audit,” also known as an inspection and analysis of the energy efficiency of a building or structure, is the first step a church can take to reduce the amount of energy wasted.
When more building systems, such as HVAC and lighting, are analyzed during an energy audit, the cost of the audit and its complexity level goes up. At this point in the process, your audit will include a more in-depth study of energy calculations and a financial assessment of any proposed energy-saving initiatives. Audits that include a full review of major building modifications should be at the top of your priority list.
Keep Your Meetings Virtual
The pandemic taught us that meetings are more productive when held virtually. While it will be wonderful when we can all feel safe enough to gather for worship in person, we have found that many meetings can be held remotely. We have all read or heard tales of some of the good environmental consequences that have resulted from people staying at home more and driving their cars less.
Will virtual meetings always be preferable to in-person get-togethers? Of course not, but when it works equally well, it will make a difference in protecting the environment and preserving the resources available to churches for use in more significant endeavors.
Maintain Heating and Cooling Units
Most of the time, the local HVAC repair providers in your area will offer you affordable maintenance plans that include annual inspections of your heating and air conditioning equipment. You can maintain efficiency, reduce the amount of fuel you waste, detect environmentally dangerous leaks and exhaust issues, and frequently extend the life of your equipment if you keep your unit clean and get it serviced regularly.
Adjust the Thermostat
Raise the temperature on the thermostat when no one is home during the summer. When the building is empty during the winter, the thermostat should be set lower. Experts from the government have determined that lowering the temperature on the thermostat by just one degree for at least eight hours results in savings of approximately one percent on the monthly power bill.
Changing the temperature on the thermostat by five or ten degrees should result in savings of approximately five to ten percent. The use of programmable thermostats makes temperature regulation much simpler.
Align Your Program within the Church
There are many different departments within the church, and they all require access to the facilities to carry out vital operations and organize significant events. You’ll be able to reduce your overall energy consumption and save money if you can plan and coordinate everyone’s schedules so that the building is utilized for a smaller portion of the day. Additionally, cleaning can be done during business hours to reduce the amount of church energy consumed at night.
Utilize Energy Star
It is common knowledge that home appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines bear the Energy Star designation, but were you aware that the Energy Star website includes a link dedicated particularly to congregations?
There is a workbook for taking action and free materials that can be accessed online that cover many of congregations’ common concerns and ways to apply best practices to lead effective responses. Upgrades in equipment’s overall efficiency and improved management of its operation and upkeep can help many religious organizations achieve a 30 percent reduction in their monthly energy expenses.
Stop the Draught
Always try to shut your doors and windows, but if that’s not possible, at least ensure they’re all closed. You should either replace the lost or cracked panes of glass or seal them. Find a reasonably priced draft stopper that will fit against the high doors. Take these easy measures to prevent warm air from escaping and chilly air from entering your home. You can maintain a comfortable temperature in a building at a low cost by installing door curtains that prevent heat loss as people enter and exit the structure—close doors between rooms.
Become an Off-Peak Energy Consumer
Particularly on Sundays, most churches use the most energy at periods of the day that are regarded as off-peak by utility companies. This benefits the environment because periods of high demand result in a greater amount of fuel being burned and more carbon being released into the air.
If your electricity supplier is aware that you use energy off-peak, they may give you a lower cost per kilowatt. If you ask them about this possibility, you can save money. It is something important that should be looked into.
Depending on the geographic location of your church and how it is oriented to the sun, solar radiation can be an excellent and environmentally friendly source of energy that could serve as an excellent resource for you. Perform your research thoroughly before investing in a solar energy installation. Inquire with the conference treasurer or trustees to obtain information regarding the experiences of other churches in your region and their evaluations of the service providers they employed.
Conduct research into whether any financial incentives are offered at the national, state, or local level for investing. There is no question that you will come across some churches that have had a remarkable effect on their energy costs while also having a beneficial effect on their ability to reduce their carbon footprint.
The Bottom Line
Since churches are considered sacred places of worship, they must be accessible at all times. Because of this, it is challenging to exercise control and bring down energy costs. However, you may significantly lower your monthly energy expenditures by making simple adjustments. You should immediately track the amount of time and energy consumed.