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Sustainable Houses of Worship
Mount Pisgah Baptist Church received an energy audit and made improvements that will save fuel, electricity, and a projected $13,000 a year.
For more on Sustainable Houses of Worship, see the Pratt Center's in-depth report on the project's implementation and results.
The Pratt Center is collaborating with New York City religious institutions to help them reduce their buildings’ energy consumption, set maintenance priorities, develop space utilization strategies, and turn the institutions into centers of education and advocacy for sustainability in their communities.
The Sustainable Houses of Worship program's pilot phase in in Bedford-Stuyvesant, home to more than 100 houses of worship, is now complete. Read the stories of three churches that received free energy audits and are already realizing savings on their fuel and electricity bills as a result of recommended improvements:
Since then, another six congregations have received assessments of their lighting from Con Edison and two others have had their energy use audited by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority or other auditor.
In the project’s initial phase, sponsored by State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, these three churches received energy and space utilization audits to identify needed interventions and opportunities. The Pratt Center recommended modifications to the buildings and helped the churches identify resources to get the work done, including financing and job training programs.
Churches, mosques, synagogues and other houses of worship serve as anchors for their congregations and communities. But rising energy costs and expensive building maintenance are a burden greater than many can bear. Their aging buildings waste costly amounts of heating fuel because of inefficient design, poor insulation, and deferred maintenance.
In October 2010 the Pratt Center honored Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, led by Rev. Johnny Ray Youngblood, as a “Beacon of Sustainability” for its leadership in promoting energy efficiency. Over the past year, Mt. Pisgah has turned itself into a shining example for the entire community. Working with Pratt Center lead architect Michael Bogdanffy-Kriegh, Mt. Pisgah underwent an energy audit of its 39,000-square-foot facility and proceeded to implement every measure recommended by the auditor, including lighting upgrades,the creation of separate heating zones for each building in the complex, and insulation of water pipes.
The church will see a net financial gain because the improvements are projected to lower its energy consumption costs by $13,000 a year. It also saw some immediate cost savings through Con Edison incentives, and resourceful problem-solving by the boiler mechanic referred by the Pratt Center lowered the projected cost of a boiler upgrade to $1,600 from $8,000.
Following the Mt. Pisgah service, 13 congregants signed up to learn about how they can make their own homes more energy efficient. These homeowners will receive assistance in accessing low-cost energy assessments and retrofit incentives. Homeowners will be assisted through Retrofit Bedford-Stuyvesant Block by Block and NYSERDA's Energy $mart Communities Program, for which the Pratt Center conducts outreach in Brooklyn and Queens.