Last week, we covered easy ways to cut back on your church utility bill. This week, we are diving into lighting, occupancy sensors, and cleaning costs to save your church money.
Replace Inefficient Light Bulbs
There are ways to reduce your electrical power consumption through lighting. After the cost associated with HVAC, your lighting will likely be the next largest consumer of electricity. I could give you all the facts of how wind-powered or solar energy can help you save significant money. While that is very true, I am not sure it is practical for most churches.
In the “for-profit” sectors, there is a significant case to be made for making the switch to alternative energy due in part to the tax credits, tax incentives, and other similar programs that will not benefit a non-profit entity. Given that, allow me to focus on the more practical elements.
There are so many great options today. I still marvel at the energy savings by simply changing light bulbs. Several years ago, the rave moved from incandescent bulbs to Compact Fluorescent (CFL). These CFL bulbs utilized less energy than their counterpart and lasted longer.
The LED bulb was in its infancy and was very costly, but not anymore. If you are not moving to LED’s for all your lighting needs, you are throwing money away.
- To obtain the same lumens (brightness) of an incandescent bulb, you need an LED that consumes about 85% less energy.
- An LED bulb can last up to 21 times longer than an incandescent. This means it costs less operational money to replace bulbs.
- Many local utility providers offer significant rebates and incentives for converting your lighting to LED. This can save you a great deal in the initial cost of changing over.
Incorporate Occupancy Sensors
The old term was “motion detectors.” These were the original technology designed to detect motion, primarily for security systems. Over the past decade, the use of this technology has become mainstream.
Occupancy sensors are ideally suited for applications that require a higher granularity of control than can be economically achieved using scheduling. Sensors are considered most suitable when the space is intermittently occupied. In other words, it is unoccupied for two or more hours per day and where lights are typically left on when space is unoccupied. Appropriate applications include offices, classrooms, copy rooms, restrooms, storage areas, conference rooms, break rooms, corridors, filing areas, and similar spaces.
As part of an EPA study entitled “Demand Reduction and Energy Savings Using Occupancy Sensors,” researchers monitored 158 rooms at 60 buildings for occupancy and lighting status over 14 days. They found that occupancy sensors could cut energy waste by up to 68% and increase energy savings by about 60%.
These devices are relatively easy to install and are cost-effective. I strongly recommend using them in any space without a window. If you are driving by the facility in the evening and see lights on, you can stop and turn them off. But in internal spaces, like restrooms, these fixtures could stay on all night.
Switch from Night to Day Cleaning
This will sound very radical to many of you, but this is a trend in office, healthcare, and many other secular settings. Think about it. If you clean at night, you are burning lights and energy. With the advanced technology of quiet HEPA vacuums and non-toxic and semi-odorless cleaning products, would it not make sense to make some adjustments to your cleaning patterns? Even if you cannot move all of it to the daytime, what if you incorporated early morning cleaning, utilizing natural light and other utilities already on.
I researched a facility that used ProTeam Quiet Pro Vacuums. In this case, custodians cleaned the building from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. The new schedule was adjusted to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with staggered crews. Again, significant savings.
Conclusion: Reduce That Monthly Utility Bill
As you can see, you have several options available to reduce your church’s utility bills. Even if you’re only able to implement one of these tips within the next twelve months, you’ll still see a gradual decrease in the monthly utility bill. It’s worth the effort to steward the facilities and finances God entrusted to you.