Suggestions on ways to reduce cooling costs

by Andrew Rudin June 1990

Electric costs are rising.  The heat of the summer will make us want to turn on the air conditioning.  How can we control cooling costs?  Based on experience with congregations in Phoenix and Philadelphia, here are a few suggestions:

1. Make certain your building is on the most advantageous electric rate.

  • If your peak use of electricity (when most things are turned on) occurs during your electric utility's off-peak periods, request off-peak rates lower the cost of electricity.
  • Pre-cool each day before the higher on-peak rates take effect.  In Philadelphia, this is 8am weekday mornings; weekends and holidays are off-peak all day.


2. Move morning worship earlier in the morning.

3. Reduce the generation of heat inside the building.

  • Install lower wattage lighting.
  • Turn off all unnecessary inside lights.
  • Reduce lighting levels.
  • Insulate domestic water heaters and piping.
  • Turn off circulators that pump water to hot water taps.
  • Minimize appliance use inside air conditioned areas.
  • Turn off pilot lights in boilers and furnaces.
  • Do not run air hander fans when building is vacant.  (The fans add heat to the air.)

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Energy and What Kids Like

Winter 1999

Do children have to be plugged into have fun?

Among her other duties, Linda Wigingttm, an energy consultant from Pittsburgh, teaches grade school students about energy. Linda wanted them to know that they don't have to use a lot of electricity or fuel to be happy. To prove her point, she created a game in which each child lists their five favorite activities. Then, they put those activities in order of importance to them.

For example, a young lady named Alice may choose; play with my dog, play Nintendo, take walks with my Dad, jump rope, and visit Grandma.

When she puts them in order of importance it might look like this:

  • Play with my dog
  • Take walks with my Dad
  • Jump rope
  • Visit Grandma
  • Play Nintendo


In this example, Alice likes to be with her dog a lot, and Nintendo is toward the bottom of her favorite activities.

Read more: Energy and What Kids Like

EPA’s Energy Star Out of Reach in the Real World

Fall 1996
Like plastic slipcovers on a summer night, the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts are sometimes misguided. Following its questionable opinions on underground fuel tanks and asbestos, the EPA has now created a maximum energy intensity for a congregation to declare itself an “Energy Star”.

A congregation must decrease by 35% its total annual energy use per square foot (measured in British Thermal Units or BTUs). Alternatively, a building used for religious worship has to meet the following energy standard in total BTUs per square foot per year according to the region in which it is located: Northeast -22,800, Midwest - 22 ,400, South - 16,300, West - 15,900.

Read more: EPA’s Energy Star Out of Reach in the Real World