Blessed Sacrament Church had a reduction of 82% of energy use for lighting. They were challenged in two primary ways. 1) Acceptance of change. The parish’s energy efficiency committee needed to convince the priest, finance council, and general parish membership of the need to change our light fixtures and bulbs to LED. After all, “the original lighting works just fine, doesn’t it?” 2) Cost of change. As a parish, they were able to afford the hardware needed, but not necessarily the labor cost needed for installation. The underlying question they grappled with was whether church funds should be invested in energy efficiency or whether they should be spent in other more conventional positive ways.
The key influencers learned about the cost savings to be had and how they would recoup the investment in a relatively short time (1.5 years) through energy savings. They also learned that changing over to LED bulbs and fixtures throughout our facility was not just to have “pretty lights” in the worship space. This was actually an easy “sell,” because the members of the parish are mostly aware of their responsibility to be good stewards of God gifts.
The second challenge – how to afford the labor costs – was met through enthusiasm and through Providence. Two of the energy efficiency committee members are electrical engineers. After studying and considering the project, they determined they were able to design and manage the project and also provide guidance to parishioner volunteers who would do all of the labor. This challenge resulted in great success by not only saving money, but by building and strengthening community amongst the volunteers, and creating buy-in from the parish at large.
Throughout the facility, over 300 fluorescent tube-light fixtures were re-worked to use LED light tubes and motion detector lights were installed in lower-use areas. As a result, not only is the quality of the lighting all around is much improved, they are now using less than 20% of the original lighting load!