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Did you know the average church or place of worship in the Midwest spends over $6,000 per year on electricity and natural gas? There are a variety of ways to save energy to reduce operating costs for your congregation. Bundling upgrades and saving on improvements is easier than ever with the Small Business Express program, which connects you with qualified contractors and rebates to create lasting efficiency savings for your place of worship.

What uses the most energy in places of worship

The following pie charts illustrate what activities use and cost the most for places of worship. Space heating, cooling and ventilation account for the largest portion of energy use in religious facilities. Electricity end uses (from the top, counterclockwise): 5% space heating, 37% miscellaneous, 3% computing, 5% office equipment, 6% refrigeration, 2% cooking, 11% lighting, 16% ventilation and 13% space cooling. Natural gas end uses include (from the top, counterclockwise): 6% cooking, 5% water heating and 89% space heating.

Electricity End Uses

Church Electricity Usage breakdown

Natural Gas End Uses

Church Gas Usage breakdown

What's costing places of worship the most 

End Uses Average Electric Cost/Month Average Gas Cost/Month Energy Savings Potential
Space Heating, Cooling and Ventilation $106 $197
Miscellaneous $115 -
Small Business Express is here to lend a hand
Small Business Express makes it easy for you to get professional guidance to identify energy-saving opportunities. Eligible rebates can help lower your out-of-pocket cost to replace failing equipment, and help you save energy and money long term.

Ways to Save

gray icon of a space heater
Space Heating, Cooling and Ventilation
Heating and cooling equipment is one of the largest uses of energy in religious facilities. By upgrading the heating and cooling equipment your congregation could see improvements in comfort while saving energy.  
  • Simple: Seal around windows and doors with new caulk and weather stripping every few years to prevent energy loss and maintain comfort. Once the building has been sealed, add insulation to keep the warm or cool air in the building. Keep blinds and curtains closed during the day during the summer. In the winter, keep blinds and curtains closed at night to keep warm air inside.
  • Low cost: Install programmable thermostats to reduce heating and cooling load outside of occupied hours. Schedule regular tune ups for air conditioners, furnaces and boilers to ensure systems are working correctly. Purchase thermal curtains to reduce heat intake during the summer and heat loss during the winter.
  • Capital investment: Replace heating and cooling equipment with new high-efficiency systems.  
LED Light Bulb gray icon
Lighting upgrades is another area with a variety of methods to save energy and money. 
  • Simple: Turn lights off when a space is not in use.
  • Low cost: Install motion sensors in restrooms and other less used rooms to turn off lights automatically. Areas with good opportunity for installing occupancy sensors include bathrooms, storage areas, conference rooms and break rooms.
  • Capital investment: Replace incandescent and fluorescent lights with LEDs to see savings of up to 50%! LEDs also have a longer life span resulting in fewer replacement costs over time.
Lightening Bolt Icon
Other energy saving opportunities
The following tips will help save money on the other small energy uses within your place of worship.
  • Simple: Turn off and unplug electronic equipment when not in use to prevent unnecessary power usage. Ensure computers go into low-power or “sleep” mode after a period of inactivity during the day. 
  • Low Cost: Install advanced power strips which detect a drop in energy usage and turn off electronics when staff have left for the day.
Two men in vests and hard hats looking at an energy management system in the control room of a building

See how your congregation compares 

Energy Use Intensity (EUI) is a common measure used to benchmark a building’s energy use as a factor of its size. To calculate EUI for your congregation's facilities, total your electric bills for one year then divide by your building’s square footage; repeat for natural gas. If the score is lower than those listed below, you are using less energy than most.
Average EUI for Midwest Places of Worship
Natural Gas
4.5 kWh/square foot
0.4 therms/square foot
Call us today at 800-432-8583 to learn about tools that can help you with benchmarking your facility. 
Other Resources