Energy efficiency for churches: 5 ways to go green
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Energy efficiency for churches: five ways churches can go a little greener without breaking the bank

09/03/2020

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Energy efficiency for churches doesn’t have to cost the earth. Check out our five handy tips to help your church go green and start saving on costs.

Energy efficiency for churches probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about your local old parish church. Is energy efficiency even possible in a building that could be centuries old? The Church of England certainly thinks so – news emerged in January that the Church is changing the way its 40,000 buildings are heated.

Every church is different and has unique energy needs, but we’ve found that there are some steps every church can take to improve their energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency for churches: our top five tips

1. Carry out an energy audit

Before you start introducing energy efficiency measures, it’s a good idea to work out exactly what kind of measures would benefit your building the most. An energy audit will help you work out where and how you can make improvements, in the most cost-efficient ways.

An energy audit is usually carried out by a qualified energy auditor. The energy auditor will visit your building and examine things like windows, doors, lighting, heating and air conditioning systems. They will then take their findings and produce a recommendations report filled with actionable steps you can take to improve energy efficiency. They might recommend investing in a new lighting system, for example, or installing a new boiler. Each recommendation should have an estimated payback period attached – the amount of time it will take to see a return on the investment. Depending on your building type and age, it can take anywhere from twelve months to 10 years to see that return.

If you can’t afford or don’t want to commission an energy auditor, you can carry out a DIY energy audit (check out our guide here).

2. Practice good energy hygiene

This sounds intimidating, but it’s really quite simple. Remember all those money-saving things your mum and dad used to go on about when you were a child? Close the doors, turn off the lights and sockets, don’t open the windows when the heating is on. All of these basic actions will help you save energy and improve energy efficiency in your building.

There are a few other steps you can take to raise it to the next level. For instance, making sure your radiators aren’t blocked and hidden away with furniture will allow the heat to radiate through rooms more efficiently, which will have a knock-on benefit for your gas bills because your boiler won’t need to work as hard. Similarly, making sure your windows are clean can allow you to use natural light for longer periods of time, helping you to save money on your energy bills.

3. Don’t heat rooms that aren’t used regularly

Rooms that are used infrequently throughout the day or used sporadically don’t need to be heated all the time. Installing controls on radiators can help you control which rooms are heated at any given time, allowing you to heat your church more efficiently and make savings.

You can also have radiators removed from areas like stairwells, corridors, cloakrooms and toilets. It might be controversial, but there’s little point in heating areas that people move through temporarily.

4. Introduce an end of day shut down policy

This sounds a bit industrial, but it’s good practice for any building that is used by a number of different people during the day. You probably already have somebody to lock up at the end of the day. Ask them to make sure all lights and sockets are switched off, all windows are closed, and all heating has been turned down as low as possible. Turning your heating down by a few degrees at night will have a really positive impact on your bills.

5. Use energy efficient lighting

Not all churches use electric lighting, but those that do can make major savings by upgrading to newer, more energy efficient lighting. This can require a relatively high initial investment, but payback periods for lighting upgrades are often quite short and the positive impact of newer, brighter lighting like LEDs is immediately felt.

It’s always possible to increase energy efficiency for churches and save money, no matter what type of church building it is.

Go a little greener with a renewable energy contract

Over 5500 thousand churches have already switched to renewable energy, and there’s no reason at all why your church can’t do the same. The UK’s energy supply is getting greener all the time and green energy is cheaper than it’s ever been. Three of the Big Six energy suppliers now offer green energy contracts, while many other suppliers offer 100% green energy contracts.

To discuss green energy contracts and find out other ways to increase your church’s energy efficiency, give troo’s team of energy experts a call on 0808 164 2222 or email fairer@troocost.com.

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