National Energy Averages for Buildings Used for Worship

Every few years, the US Department of Energy collects energy data on various types of commercial buildings across the Country, including religious buildings.  With the help of Mike MacDonald of Oak Ridge Labs, we have organized the data into three graphs.

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How Religious Buildings Use Energy

When we survey your buildings, we gather lots of information and record it into a database.  The information is anonymous, keyed in by codes that only we understand. 

Among other information, the database contains the following about the most common type of building – one used for worship, with classrooms often used for child care, a fellowship hall and offices:Number of buildings in this category to date – 334

Design for the Future by Looking at the Past

A study of energy use in worship centers is presented along with recommendations for designing new buildings and improving existing buildings.
By Lawrence G. Spielvogel, P.E.  and Andrew Rudin
Taken from : HPAC Heating/Piping/AirConditioning November 1997

This article describes experience with energy use in houses of worship. It presents metered energy data from 302 churches,  synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship in and around Philadelphia. The buildings average 16,700 sq ft. Each building has its own utility meters and does not share fuel storage tanks with any other building. The average energy budget is 64,400 Btu and $0.7 per sq ft per yr.


The Interfaith Coalition on Energy (ICE) was started in 1980 by the religious community in Philadelphia, with financial support from foundations and corporations. During the past few years, ICE has continued its work with support from local religious denominations and from fees for service, mostly on-site surveys of the buildings and their energy systems. Data from each separately metered building are entered into a database. This article is based on those data. An earlier summary was published in February 1988 To date, ICE has conducted onsite energy surveys for over 460 congregations with over 1100 buildings. It has published more than 60 newsletters and conducted over 200 energy management workshops.

Read more: Design for the Future by Looking at the Past