By Margaret Slattery
After joining TIPL and learning about TVA’s energy audit program, the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan of Knoxville is trying to become more energy efficient. In March, a team met to conduct an energy audit of Good Sam’s facilities. Members included representatives of TVA, a vestry member for buildings and grounds, a consultant from a lighting firm, and an energy efficiency engineer from ORNL (Good Sam parishioner). Tom Irwin from TVA is to prepare a report with specific suggestions for improvements. Overall, these were the initial observations.
Though heating and cooling consume a large portion of the church’s energy use, the units were in pretty good shape. They will need to double check that the programmable thermostat is set to what it should be. It’s possible raising the temperature one degree in the summer and lowering it one degree in the winter could save a considerable amount.
The easiest area to tackle first will likely be lighting. There are two key areas in the church to consider changes: the sanctuary (high hanging chandeliers and spotlights) and the main meeting hall (lots of fluorescent tubes). Although lighting only accounts for about $2000 a year, replacing LEDs in the sanctuary will have four major benefits:
The quality of light should be superior and more flexible to create a variety of different lighting environments.
- LEDs will lower those lighting costs by about 80%.
- Because they last so much longer, bulbs could burn up to 20 years depending on use. Not having to change those difficult to reach bulbs is a major incentive.
- Improvements to lighting will definitely pay for themselves over time. The payback time will be shorter if they qualify for TVA’s funding.
Once the energy audit confirms areas to tackle and quotes are attained for the costs of the upgrades, Good Sam will apply to the TVA Energy Right Solutions program that pays $.10 for every kilowatt saved. That program has currently run out of funds, but Tom Irwin hopes it will be funded again within a few months. Good Sam hopes to have an application ready as soon as funding is available.
(Note: See this link to learn more about how your church can benefit from a TVA energy audit. We will ask Margaret to do another blog when the Church of the Good Samaritans takes another step towards saving energy.)