With the goal of reducing their carbon footprint by five tons a year, members of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Vernon, CT participated in a 6-week program through CT IPL called “This Old House of Worship.” They learned how to perform an energy audit, and how to calculate the energy and cost savings that would accrue if new lighting was installed. Their audit revealed the congregation could reduce its carbon footprint significantly by swapping out all the old lighting in the Undercroft, the parish hall, the Sunday School rooms, the hallways, the offices, and outdoors. Because they had already installed new thermostats last winter, the cost of $13,000 for new lighting was thought to be prohibitive. However, they gamely launched an “adopt a lighting fixture” for the entire congregation, and proceeded with the upgrade. Electricity usage since the upgrade has decreased by 1,328 Kwh, or 22%, over the same period in 2010. Also, because of the new thermostats, natural gas usage decreased by 15%, or about 1000 CCF over the past year. Over half of the lighting costs have now been covered by Creation-loving parishioners or parish groups, and the church is on track to decrease its CO2 emissions by five tons per year.
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