Making Church Buildings Energy Efficient. Part 1: Goals and Solutions.

Why Energy Efficient Churches?

The call to implement energy efficiency measures in churches is central to Caring for Creation. Earth resources stewardship and climate change issues, as well as sound, practical management of congregational, local, and regional resources, are all addressed in this call.

Since every church uses precious (and costly) energy resources in their facilities, it beholden on congregations to be good stewards of those resources through sound energy management, including through the use of renewable resources, where feasible. Thus, we should identify church energy use as a major short to medium term priority. Moreover, the energy cost savings will pay back the investment over a period of years, after which the savings will be available for other church programs.

Proposed goals for Congregations

Identify and implement energy efficiency retrofits in your church buildings. This involves four sub-goals:

Above: Solar panels on a historic church roof.
  1. Conduct an analysis of two or three years of monthly utility bills.
  2. Have an appropriate consultant conduct an energy assessment of the lighting, appliances (water heaters, refrigerators, computers, etc.), and other equipment in your church buildings.
  3. Based on the recommendations of this energy assessment, develop a plan to implement those recommendations.
  4. Implement the plan within the resources and time table established by the church congregation.

Process and Implementation

  1. Establish an Environmental Stewardship Committee in your church. This will provide a forum for educating the congregation in environmental stewardship issues, and for coordinating the implementation of environmental programs in energy, water, and food resources.
Above: An image from the Energy Matters Australian website showing how a grid connect solar power system works.
  1. Contact an appropriate consultant to schedule an energy assessment. This will include an analysis of energy bills, a site survey of your facilities, and a report that documents the site observations and recommendations for energy efficiency improvements.
  2. The energy assessment will document recommended energy efficiency measures and will identify rebate and grant programs as potential sources of funding. The assessor will also identify energy efficiency contractors who can outline the cost of implementing these measures and who can stand ready to do the implementation work.
  3. Consult with your church governing body to identify funds needed to complete the retrofits; a phased approach is often the most workable.
Above: The logo for Green The Church, an initiative based in Oakland, California, whose mission is to help church congregations to fight against climate change.

Sustainability Goals and Solutions

Arcuate has developed a simple strategy entitled Sustainability Solutions for Churches in South Australia which provides church congregations with a systematic process to enable them determine sustainability goals and solutions for their buildings. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you want us to carry out an audit of your church buildings.

Arcuate has successfully implemented the Sustainability Solutions strategy both in the UK and in South Australia, carrying out audits of a variety of church buildings. We have prepared a set of documents tailored to the specific needs of South Australian churches that we use in compiling in depth reviews and exploring options.

Above: Part of the cover page from the Arcuate’s strategy booklet entitled Sustainability Solutions for Churches in South Australia.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you want us to carry out an audit of your church buildings.