Looking where light is brightest

Older commercial stove with pilot lights burned up lots of propane and money.

An advantage of being a, small, rural economically challenged congregation is that we are always consciously looking to control operating expenses. The First Congregational Church of Durham, Maine has had this experience for many years. Within the past 15 years we have replaced doors and windows with high efficiency ones to save fuel, replaced our furnace, installed a timed thermostat to regulate the temperature, updated the heating ductwork, and replaced all incandescent lights with fluorescent lighting.

We have an ever growing recycling and composting program. In our town, we pay per bag trash pickup we have very little actual “trash” to discard. We keep careful track of (furnace) oil and (stove) propane consumption, and this has alerted us on several occasions of excessive consumption (improper thermostat timer settings and excessive stove pilot settings after servicing), which we were able to address promptly.

This past winter the excessive pilot setting propane consumption caused us to look at the 10 pilot lights on our commercial size stove (no piezoelectric starters) and its propane average monthly consumption of approximately 30 gallons and wonder what the propane bill would be if we turned off the gas between suppers or events. We consulted the stove manufacturer, created a written procedure with pictures for turning the gas supply off and on and restarting the stove pilots, and trained several church members. The result was a reduction from 209.8 gallons of Propane for a 6 month period.

This Cool Congregations story was submitted by First Congregational Church, Durham, Maine

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