Alternative Energy Systems - church building integration?

So you have the BIG idea that the Church or community needs to develop. Discuss that idea here. Maybe you just want to make a suggestion on a new forum topic. Let us know.
pritchet1
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Alternative Energy Systems - church building integration?

Postby pritchet1 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:23 am

Is there any construction activity regarding retrofitting alternative energy systems (solar, wind, hydro) to existing church building structures around the world?

What of "green" construction?

Disclosure statement -

I ask only because I have been working hard to establish access and working relationships with wholesale alternative energy resources through the website I created at http://www.synergycentre.net

Getting into solar hot water
Some items could provide a relatively quick return on investment, such as passive solar hot water systems. These systems seem to have reached a level of maturity. (I'm thinking "baptismal fonts".)

Wind/Solar power
A few locations might be able to use the solar/wind power combinations either on grid or off grid in the spirit of self-sufficiency. Technologies keep improving and it is difficult right now to see which ones will become the cream of the crop. I'm thinking of church buildings as emergency locations and net-metering for power consumption (lowered electrical energy bills).

Transportation
As far as transportation is concerned, I expect a few all-electric vehicle companies to distribute their products towards the end of 2008 that will "go the distance" instead of just being neighborhood vehicles and short distances today between charges. (Mission cars and fuel consumption reduction).

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:51 am

Interesting idea, although the initial investment is rather large the benefits might offset it in the long run. I have seen many "green" solutions but what has the church looked into for the new buildings being constructed? (Before you can retrofit you have to change the building designs being developed)
- David

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Going Green

Postby The_Earl » Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:28 am

This is a great idea that I think the community could push, and bring a lot of good ideas up.

I think the church has already done some good things in regard to this. The renovation at my old building significantly improved the insulation and HVAC system, replaced the water-heaters with tankless versions, and replaced the windows.

The church probably has use for alternative energy expertise in developing areas. It would be cool if they could 'practice' in low-risk areas, and then roll that out to places that need it. I picture it somewhat like the clean water programs they run now.

I wonder what would happen to the church's 'non-profit' designation if all of their properties started selling power back to the grid :)

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Postby russellhltn » Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:23 pm

I think the bottom line is that it's all about the bottom line. While the church teaches that we should be a wise steward of our resources, I don't think they've taken any stand on Global Warming, CO2 or anything along those lines.

Absent of any such direction, it all comes down to money. (Edit: and obeying the law, such as disposal of old computers) Without any overriding need (such as very remote locations) I don't think they'll jump until the total cost of ownership (including employee time managing it) falls below or at least matches conventional technology.

On the plus side, the church does have significant resources to invest in expensive system to save money in the long run such as building renovation. And since the church plans to be around until the end of the millennium, they are in it for the long run.

The question about selling power back is a good one. I'm not sure how that's handled for a non-profit. (I also see net-metering as something of a fool's "green". You're selling power at retail, not wholesale and forcing the power company to be your battery. That solution just doesn't scale. As such, it should be looked at strictly as a money savings thing and not true "green".)

Of the ideas expressed, I think solar water heating is in the best position, but I wonder about the payback when it's used so infrequently. It also has to be balanced against the space savings a tankless system gives.

Edit: Silly me. Solar heating would likely be the best for buildings in the snow belt. I'd think that would be a slam dunk cost-wise.

Electric cars may work, but I think they'll need to prove themselves first. Particularly in the area of resale value since depreciation is the dominate expense.

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WelchTC
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Postby WelchTC » Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:23 pm

pritchet1 wrote:Is there any construction activity regarding retrofitting alternative energy systems (solar, wind, hydro) to existing church building structures around the world?

What of "green" construction?

Disclosure statement -

I ask only because I have been working hard to establish access and working relationships with wholesale alternative energy resources through the website I created at http://www.synergycentre.net

Getting into solar hot water
Some items could provide a relatively quick return on investment, such as passive solar hot water systems. These systems seem to have reached a level of maturity. (I'm thinking "baptismal fonts".)

Wind/Solar power
A few locations might be able to use the solar/wind power combinations either on grid or off grid in the spirit of self-sufficiency. Technologies keep improving and it is difficult right now to see which ones will become the cream of the crop. I'm thinking of church buildings as emergency locations and net-metering for power consumption (lowered electrical energy bills).

Transportation
As far as transportation is concerned, I expect a few all-electric vehicle companies to distribute their products towards the end of 2008 that will "go the distance" instead of just being neighborhood vehicles and short distances today between charges. (Mission cars and fuel consumption reduction).

Interesting ideas. I do not believe that the Church has any major initiatives towards this area.

Tom

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:40 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Absent of any such direction, it all comes down to money. (Edit: and obeying the law, such as disposal of old computers) Without any overriding need (such as very remote locations) I don't think they'll jump until the total cost of ownership (including employee time managing it) falls below or at least matches conventional technology.

Of the ideas expressed, I think solar water heating is in the best position, but I wonder about the payback when it's used so infrequently. It also has to be balanced against the space savings a tankless system gives.


Solar Water heating is very cost effective (my parents heat their pool almost entirely on solar heating) which has been a great save. As for the need, you could tap the bathroom's and kitchen's hot water also to the solar heating and thus generate when needed.

As for the overall cost for additional energy savings, the solar power roofing tiles are very cost effective and break even I believe after 4 or 5 years running (That was perdicted at 3 cents per kilowatt hour)
- David

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Postby russellhltn » Sat Dec 15, 2007 4:38 am

thedqs wrote:As for the need, you could tap the bathroom's and kitchen's hot water also to the solar heating and thus generate when needed.)


I don't understand.

One question I have is what is the payback period at the church's rate of usage? With a home, you generally go home every night and much of the weekend. A church building might be used only on Sunday and a couple of nights during a typical week. The less heating, the longer the payback period on the system. Yet the system has to be big enough to heat the whole place every Sunday.

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Postby thedqs » Sat Dec 15, 2007 6:45 am

I thought you were limiting the system to only heat the water in the font, which would not be sufficent to install a solar heating unit.

Well most buildings have 2 or 3 wards that have meetings so at least 2 nights a week, then sunday. So your point is perfectly valid in that you do need to wait longer for initial payback, however the church owns and operates the buildings longer than a person at a single house meaning that they have more time to generate that payback.

Of course as "green" home generated energy options become more and more avaliable the prices will continue to decline and so you have to review the current year's prices now and in the future.
- David

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Postby JamesAnderson » Sat Dec 15, 2007 12:45 pm

Another area is building lighting.

Right now, most bulbs in buildings are fluorescent, with a few exceptions where there is no comparable bulb such as chandelier lighting or small-bulb things like that, but there is another technology that is starting to pick up some steam, albeit slowly.

That is LED lighting.

The pros are that you can light a house with LED lighting for very low cost, and if you did a Church building which does get used nightly except for Mondays, and parts get used alot if you have an FHC in it, etc., then you might be able to save some good money on the electric bill if all you have for electricity is the lighting and cooling, is for just lighting and the serving area range and refrigerator which get used infrequently anyway.

The cons right now are the cost for the bulbs themselves at present. However, most LED bulbs will last up to ten years and the cost is roughtly the same to slightly less than the same cost for replacing the bulbs one would have otherwise used.

They also come in sizes that will work with chandelier lighting sockets, and they range upwards from there to the large ones that look like tubes, used for fluorescent replacement as well. They now make them with white light.

Most people in the US will be familiar with LED lighting because that is what city and state street departments are putting in at traffic signals now. There were news stories about LED Christmas tree lights as well.

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Postby russellhltn » Sat Dec 15, 2007 2:24 pm

thedqs wrote:I thought you were limiting the system to only heat the water in the font, which would not be sufficent to install a solar heating unit.


Depends on what version of my post you were reading. ;)

The problem of longer paybacks is you have to make sure the system lasts longer then that to save any money. I don't know as I'd trust a system to last 10 years, so I'd be wanting payback in less time then that.


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