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Church of the Nativity

Project Highlights
Total Project Cost $24,872

The Church of the Nativity purchased energy-efficient air conditioning units for the chapel and a new furnace for the parish hall, as well as new LED lighting for the school building occupied by the Children’s Therapy Center.

NJCEP Incentives $17,410
Project Payback 2.5 years
Estimated Annual Savings

$2,937
10,166 kWh
1,385 therms

Direct Install Partner Lime Energy

Technologies
LED Lighting; High-efficiency, split-system air conditioners and gas-fired furnace; Programmable thermostats; Faucet aerators

Project information, savings and environmental benefits were provided by the project contact.

Parish's energy-efficiency stewardship benefits school for developmentally disabled

Background

In keeping with Catholic teachings to conserve natural resources and be mindful of the impacts of climate change, the Church of the Nativity in Midland Park, New Jersey minimizes energy consumption by using a small chapel rather than their full church building for all services except weekend Mass.

The decision to conserve energy is also financial, as heating a 60-year-old church can be expensive. Elsewhere on the parish’s 13.5-acre campus, pastoral staff are especially mindful of the costs to power a former grade school leased to the Children’s Therapy Center, a nonprofit school for children ages seven through thirteen with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. The school provides occupational and physical therapy along with classroom instruction.

With attendance expanding at the Children’s Therapy Center, the parish has long sought opportunities to reduce operating costs for the school, which uses the building nearly all year round. “It’s a very expensive operation in terms of gas and electricity. We’re a modest parish without a lot of excess funds,” said Jack Polito, business manager for the Church of the Nativity. “Whatever we can do to control our utility costs is a big plus.”

Polito was interested in improving energy efficiency across the parish campus, but limited funds led him to wait until equipment would malfunction before buying replacements. In 2015, however, the parish chose to proactively replace much of their heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and lighting equipment upon learning of the financial incentives offered through New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program™ (NJCEP). The parish and school have been saving energy and money ever since.

Most churches don’t have investment capabilities and instead make changes on an as-needed basis. As a non-profit that needs a little bit of an incentive to make changes, this program is ideal. It allows us to take a more forward- looking view.

Jack Polito
Business Manager

Church of the Nativity
311 Prospect Street
Midland Park, NJ

Solution

The NJCEP Direct Install program offers a
free energy assessment and incentives that cover up to 70 percent of the cost to
upgrade equipment in buildings that use as
much as 200 kW per month of electricity.
Direct Install is a turnkey solution that
makes it easy and affordable to upgrade
to high-efficiency lighting and HVAC
equipment.

Lime Energy, a participating NJCEP
contractor, approached the Church of
the Nativity to offer an energy audit. Their
assessment determined that installing
new lighting throughout the school and
three new HVAC units in the parish hall
and chapel would offer the parish and its
tenants significant energy savings within a
short timeframe.

The parish installed $24,872 of equipment,
including LED lighting, two high-efficiency
split-system air conditioners, an efficient
gas-fired furnace, programmable
thermostats and faucet aerators.

NJCEP provided $17,410 in incentives
to lower the project cost to $7,462. In
addition, Lime Energy anticipates the
project will save the parish and its tenants
10,166 kWh of electricity and 1,385
therms of natural gas, resulting in total
annual energy cost savings of $2,937 and
enabling the project to pay for itself in 2.5
years.

“When you’re a small Catholic parish, every dollar matters. The program leaves us with more funds available to do things that are beneficial for the church such as community and liturgical events,” Polito said.

With the Children’s Therapy Center considering whether to move to a larger space to accommodate a growing student body, the NJCEP incentives have also helped the parish better prepare for the possibility that they will need to find new tenants.

“We will now have a more energy-efficient property that should be more attractive to the next tenant who will come in and assume the space,” Polito said. “Most churches don’t have investment capabilities and instead make changes on an as-needed basis. As a non-profit that needs a little bit of an incentive to make changes, this program is ideal. It allows us to take a more forward-looking view.”

 More Information


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