How a Historic Church Slashed Energy Expenses

Aug. 24, 2015

Incentives help fund cost-cutting improvements.

Manhattan’s iconic Riverside Church has a long, storied history of good works, inviting such luminaries as Nelson Mandela and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King to speak to its interdenominational congregation. Church leaders strive to make life better for worshippers and their wider community – and a recent energy efficiency retrofit will help them achieve that mission.

The church welcomed a suite of new digital controls for its HVAC system and insulation on boilers and pipes to cut energy costs while improving comfort. These upgrades will save 131,000 therms and 204,000 kWh per year, and thanks to incentives, the church is on track for a payback under three years.

Con Ed, the church’s local utility, provided $217,000 toward the $541,000 cost of the controls, which are part of the new building management system. They replace the church’s original manual controls. Building managers can now pre-set the temperature in various zones of the church and can even operate the system remotely if needed.

The utility also contributed $68,500 toward the $178,000 cost of the insulation. By keeping heat from escaping from piping, ducts, boilers, tanks and steam traps, it ensures that more heat makes it through the pipes to warm the church. The insulation jackets on the boilers are custom-made and can be opened at the boiler door for inspections.

Riverside’s energy savings will prevent 837 tons of carbon emissions every year, and its total avoided greenhouse gas emissions are equivalent to removing 177 cars from the road annually or saving 1,945 barrels of oil. The money that once went to utility bills can now be redirected into ministry.

“This technology will help us save energy and provide a more pleasant space for our worshippers and staff,” says the Rev. Michael Livingston, Executive Minister at Riverside Church. “Caring for the planet’s resources and for everyone’s well-being is part of our stewardship of God’s creation.”

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Buildings, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Building Better Schools

Download this digital resource to better understand the challenges and opportunities in designing and operating educational facilities for safety, sustainability, and performance...

Tips to Keep Facility Management on Track

How do you plan to fill the knowledge gap as seasoned facility managers retire or leave for new opportunities? Learn about the latest strategies including FM tech innovations ...

The Beauty & Benefits of Biophilic Design in the Built Environment

Biophilic design is a hot trend in design, but what is it and how can building professionals incorporate these strategies for the benefits of occupants? This eHandbook offers ...

The Benefits of Migrating from Analog to DMR Two-Way Radios

Are you still using analog two-way radios? Download this white paper and discover the simple and cost-effective migration path to digital DMR radios that deliver improved audio...