St Francis, Titirangi “were all intrigued to see how ‘green’ they might be” before inviting the Sustainability Field Worker to assess their church. They were pleased to learn that their upgraded heating, improved insulation and water saving fittings all got the green tick. In 2007 Titirangi upgraded their heating to efficient Long Wave (Far Infrared) heating. Originally the panels were hung crosswise but later changed as the lengthwise mounting was found to distribute the heat better. They are careful to set the heater time clock to programme the heaters to turn on and off as efficiently as possible. For more on heating options for churches go to the DIY Sustainability Surveys page of the Cherished Earth website.
The analysis of their electricity bill showed that they spent roughly ⅓ on their winter heating and lighting, ⅓ on their base building load throughout the year, and ⅓ on the fixed component of their bill. The fixed component of your electricity bill is proportionally higher when your total electricity cost is low. This fixed sum (line charges etc.) must be paid no matter how much electricity you save.
One area for action was to upgrade their old fluorescent tubes and fittings and Titirangi have now replaced all of the fluorescent lights in the main church area. If your church has fluorescent tubes that are “fat” (called T12 lamps, 38mm diam.) or flicker when you turn them on, then they should be upgraded to more modern and efficient lamps (called T8 or T5 lamps, 26mm or less) and ballasts. When choosing lamps, select a warm colour lamp for meeting areas. The lighting industry is currently going through a major change to even more efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) fittings and lamps. However linear LED tubes are not yet economic for replacing linear fluorescents. For more on lighting and electricity use in churches go to the DIY Sustainability Surveys page.