Power Wise – Our First Energy Audit
Two weeks ago, Georgia Interfaith Power & Light conducted our first Energy Audit as a part of our new Power Wise program.
Bob Donaghue, GIPL’s new Power Wise Program Director, and I joined Gary Gabriel from CDH Partners, Inc. at North Springs United Methodist Church in Sandy Springs for the afternoon audit. We met up with Ryan Meres, a church member volunteering to assist the church with their energy issues. We all spent the afternoon poking around the building, checking heating and cooling systems behind locked doors, removing ceiling tiles to examine the ceiling insulation, and even climbing onto the roof to inspect the church’s two heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
Thanks to Gary’s expertise, we went into the audit knowing that the church’s energy bills reflect some serious existing energy conservation efforts. But even though their energy usage is low compared to other buildings of their size, Gary could tell that something is causing the church to spend too much money on their electricity bills. And after a long and hot audit, we had a culprit: an old HVAC system that could stand to be replaced.
As a member of Power Wise, North Springs will be able to apply for a grant to help cover some of the expenses for making this change, or to make any of the other changes that will be suggested in the customized Energy Audit Report that they will receive to follow up from their audit. Congregations participating in Power Wise will also have access to a Monthly Bills Tracking System that will allow them to track their energy usage and energy savings in the future.
We all emerged from our first Power Wise Energy Audit with a better understanding of the way a faith community uses energy and the many changes that the congregation could make to conserve energy and save money. Bob, who will be coordinating all of our Power Wise Energy Audits, thought the experience was extremely informative and was very impressed with the knowledge and skill level of Gary Gabriel in action.
Gary has been in the business of developing energy systems for churches for over 25 years. We are excited to have him available to conduct Power Wise Energy Audits in congregations across the state. GIPL will provide energy assessments to 125 congregations over the next two years. Already, 60 congregations have expressed an interest, and we are working to schedule audits for the next several congregations.