By the Rev. Jon Hermes, rector, St. Timothy, Kingsport
Ever hear a parent say something like, “Don’t leave that light on! Do you want to pay the power bill?”
Given the time you heard that, the concern was probably over a 60 or 100-watt light bulb.
At St. Timothy’s, we experienced an issue where our emergency heating in our fellowship hall was staying on most of the time. In our case, that was an extra 20,000 watts being used. That is like leaving 200 – 100-watt light bulbs on! Moreover, to add insult to injury (even with a fairly new heat pump,) it was cold in the fellowship hall. Yikes! Something had to change!
Under the leadership of our Junior Warden (Richard Davenport,) we implemented a few easy changes:
One change was to keep the heat consistent, or at most 2 degrees below our target Sunday temperature. When there is a large variance between the actual and target temperature, the emergency heat runs most of the time to catch up.
Another change was to utilize two infrared heaters. These are only 3,000 watts vs. a 20,000-watt emergency heat from the heat pump. Beyond a cheaper zone heat, the heaters move the air with a small built-in fan. In addition, when extremely cold temperatures occur outside, the heat pump is less effective. A heat pump operates like a reverse refrigerator. When the air is too cold outside, the unit has a hard time displacing the cold air pulled from the heat pump. These infrared heaters operate within the room and can heat more effectively in extreme temperatures.
Another change we made was to add shrink-wrap insulation on the large and inefficient windows! With a hair dryer, you barely notice them at all! In addition, at around $13 a window, it is a cost-effective alternative to around $20,000 in replacing windows!
The result has been promising!
January is traditionally the coldest month in our region and our implemented changes have only been in the last three weeks. Even so, the results in electricity savings are great!
In January 2018, St. Timothy’s used 16,040 kWh resulting in a $1,467.81 electric bill due in February. However, with our recent changes, our January 2019 kWh used was only 9,800. That is 39%, less that resulted in real savings! Our February 2019 electric expense was $902.79, saving the church $565.02! The expense of the heaters and insulation was only $240. This is instant savings, and it is actually warm in the fellowship hall! Many thanks to Richard Davenport on the building and ground team!