Could something as simple as a programmable thermostat make a difference? Our hope was a “yes” when it was one of our energy audit recommendations and the first we implemented. Below is our story along with proof of the energy savings.
Our small church is in a building built by an Assembly of God Congregation in 1945. With no insulation and cracked single pane windows, we have many areas for improvement if we are to meet our Unitarian Universalist Green Sanctuary Goals and the GIPL focus of embracing Creation care. After an energy audit we began writing grants. Our first from GIPL resulted in money for thermostats, which was matched by our church.
We began by purchasing and installing a programmable thermostat in our sanctuary that allows multiple schedules for each day of the week. When programming we allotted 30 minutes before and after to allow for climate comfort and visitation time for groups. We have approximately 25 meetings a month in our building that take place outside the parameters of our Sunday Service. Prior to the programmable thermostat, someone would come by several hours prior to the meeting and turn on the heat/air to ensure participants were comfortable during the meeting. Often, they then forgot to turn it off when they left.
Once the thermostat was installed and people read the following note, we saw this problem resolved: “Please read before setting the NEW thermostat. Scheduled Classes This thermostat is programmed to begin 30 minutes before your scheduled class. All weekly classes are programmed into the schedule. Please do NOT leave the AC on when you are not here. Help us be better stewards of our resources.” Since the above steps were taken we have had positive comments from those visiting groups about how great it is to not have to worry. Everything is comfortable and takes care of itself. They don’t have to think about turning heat/AC on or off at all. In addition, we are seeing savings in our electric bills since installation of the thermostat.
This Cool Congregations story was submitted by Georgia Mountains UU Church, Dahlonega, Georgia