Lutherans Go Green
By: Metropolitan New York Synod
Eco-friendly congregational ideas from our synod's Environmental Stewardship Committee
Energy audits lead to big savings
Jan 26, 2012
By Gerard Falco
Did your church sign up for a free energy audit during the annual Synod Assembly last spring? If so, your congregation was entered into the Environmental Stewardship Committee’s contest to win $1,000 to be used toward energy improvements in your church following the free energy audit. Fordham Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Bronx signed up for the audit and was the lucky winner.
The free energy audits are part of a small business energy efficiency program being conducted by Con Edison in conjunction with its partner Willdan. Under the program, Con Ed will not only pay for the free Willdan energy audit but will also contribute up to 70% of any improvements suggested within the audit.
The energy audit performed at Fordham concluded that the church could save $2,660 per year in electrical costs simply by upgrading many of the church’s older lighting fixtures. While the equipment and labor costs would normally have cost more than $7,000, Con Edison contributed approximately $5,000 under the program! With the additional $1,000 the congregation won in the Synod Assembly contest, Fordham only had to contribute about $1,000 of its own funds to complete the project.
Most of the energy savings at Fordham came from removing older light fixtures, including a large number of tube style fluorescents, and replacing them with similar but more energy-efficient fixtures. The large majority of these fixtures (35 in all) were located in the church's main meeting room. The subsidized energy upgrade will have a pay-back period of less than a year. From that point forward Fordham can expect to save $2,600 in energy costs year after year while eliminating a significant amount of carbon being placed in the atmosphere.
The Con Edison Small Business program covers facilities located in the five boroughs and Westchester, Rockland and Orange Counties as well. At present, it is not known how long the program will extend, so sign up now for a free audit and your church can become eligible for up to 70% savings on upgrades. Visit www.coned.com/energyefficiency/businessdirect.asp to get started.