Seeking to improve its environmental stewardship through meaningful and relevant action, Bethany Lutheran Church has reduced the carbon footprint of their facility by 40%. They replaced a 60-year old boiler with two high efficiency propane boilers that resulted in a 25% reduction in carbon emissions. Their expanded Wi-Fi throughout the building allows for remote control of new smart thermostats to better regulate their heating and cooling system. And they installed a ground-based 27 kW solar PV array to generate electricity. The panels produce 100% of the church’s annual electrical energy needs, with any real-time excess banked for future use through a net metering process, preventing approximately 31 tons of carbon emissions.
Bethany Lutheran decided on an independent financing arrangement using the annual Zero Emission Renewable Energy Credit (ZREC) in Connecticut and a loan from Thrivent Financial. Weighing the debt service against the energy savings and energy credit the church determined there would be no out-of-pocket cost for the upgrades and a net-positive annual cash flow.
Bethany’s solar PV array, which is very visible along a main thoroughfare, is a clear statement that the church hopes will be an inspiration to others. Many community groups and a full time preschool use the building and see they are using a facility that is making significant strides to reduce its carbon footprint. A real-time monitor in the main lobby of the facility shows people moving in and out of the building the huge impact the changes have made and is a reminder how Bethany Lutheran is living out their commitment to stewardship.