Meadowlands Fellowship CRC in Ancaster, ON
To achieve better energy efficiency, Meadowlands Fellowship CRC upgraded its lighting, replacing about 380 fluorescent tubes (32W) with 325 LED tubes (18W, 2200 lumens, 3500K colour; designed for use in existing electronic ballasts). This reduced the lighting energy demand in the building by about 50%.
Many of the fixtures that had multiple tubes were replaced with one less LED tube, without noticeably affecting the light output. This is because the LEDs are brighter and the light is directed downward, rather than in all directions as with fluorescent tubes. This project received a grant of $7 per tube from the Save On Energy program in Ontario (saveonenergy.ca); as part of that program, old fluorescent tubes must be returned for proper recycling. The estimated pay-back period is less than two years. The church also changed the outside lights, which used mercury vapor bulbs, were replaced with LED lamps, leading to an 80% decrease in energy demand.
Redeemer University College
Dr. Henry Brouwer, our regional organizer for the Toronto area, worked with Redeemer University College to do a cost-analysis on changing the common fluorescent tubes used throughout the academic building to LED tubes. Through that audit, it was determined that instituting this change would have a pay-back of generally less than two years. In addition, through a rebate program in Canada, each LED tube received a rebate of $7.00.
Initially about 1,000 fluorescent tubes that were on most of the time were replaced, leading to an estimated cost savings of at least $12,000 per year, along with a reduction of about 44% in energy usage. An added benefit has been the reduced maintenance (as the LEDs should last longer than the fluorescent tubes) and more light. Based on the success of this initiative, Redeemer replaced nearly all of the fluorescent tubes in its academic building. Read more about their efforts here.
Classis Red Mesa in New Mexico
Several churches in Classis Red Mesa have been able to install energy-efficient lighting and take other steps to save money and protect the environment thanks to financial support from the CRC Foundation and OSJ.
This classis-wide effort was supported by the Climate Witness Project, which is working in a variety of ways to help churches reduce energy use and their carbon footprint. Churches that received the help in Red Mesa were mostly small with limited resources.
Many churches in the area invited a Climate Witness Project representative to make additional visits to address the whole congregation. More than a dozen Classis Red Mesa churches installed energy-saving light-emitting diode (LED) lightbulbs and fixtures. Read more about their efforts here.
ENERGY STAR Certified Churches
In order to be ENERGY STAR certified, a church must follow EPA guidelines in reaching an acceptable limit of emitted greenhouse gases. We’ve had several of our partner congregations receive this certification.
Hope CRC in Oak Forest, Illinois was the first church in the Christian Reformed Church in North America to receive ENERGY STAR certification! Hope obtained the designation as a result of its efforts to save electricity, gas, and water. Changes made by the church included swapping out their old light bulbs for LED bulbs, purchasing and installing a more efficient heating system, installing motion-sensitive lighting, using insurance money from a hailstorm to help insulate part of the roof, and making necessary adjustments to cut down on water use. Read about their energy-saving efforts here.
Church of the Servant CRC in Grand Rapids, Michigan was the second church in the Christian Reformed Church in North America to receive ENERGY STAR certification. The church has pursued creation care in numerous ways, including landscaping with drought-resistant grass and plants, adding insulation and white thermoplastic roofing, replacing HVAC equipment with high-efficiency units, replacing most of its lighting with LEDs or high-efficiency fluorescent bulbs, and adding a Solar Array system to conserve energy.
The church reported that these projects have reduced electrical consumption by nearly 40 percent and their overall energy consumption by 22 percent, resulting in a yearly savings of $15,000. Read more about their energy conservation efforts here, including solar panels, recycling initiatives, and more.
Lagrave Ave CRC in Grand Rapids, Michigan was the third church in the Christian Reformed Church in North America to receive ENERGY STAR certification! “We have a cross on the steeple of our church telling the world that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. Now we will have a symbol in our building telling all who enter that we are in the top 25 percent of similar buildings in the U.S. in terms of energy use and that we take seriously God’s call to care for his creation,” said James Reiffer, a member of LaGrave’s creation care team.
Read more about the church’s journey to achieving the certification here.