Eau Claire, WI – The boilers had done their job – warming a building that covers much of a city block through more than 60 years of Wisconsin winters – but Michael Walter knew their time was almost up.
“We were having maintenance problems with them, parts failing, a couple blower motors burned out, and it was bleeding us quite a bit,” said Walter, Building & Grounds Supervisor at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Eau Claire. “Plus, they weren’t real efficient.”
Replacing them, though, was easier to talk about than to do.
“It’s a good chunk of money,” Walter explained. “We had a capital campaign and eventually raised enough money to go ahead with the project.”
But the church didn’t do it alone. Walter reached out to Focus on Energy.
“A couple or three years ago we upgraded a lot of our lighting through the Focus on Energy program and we got over half the expense reimbursed, so that was a worthwhile project. We were really happy with the outcome and the quality of the product, so we kept that in mind for future projects,” Walter explained.
Bartingale Mechanical, a Focus on Energy Trade Ally contractor, replaced the two heavy, metal boilers in the church basement with two new, high-efficiency models. They take up less than half the space and require much less attention from Walter and church staff.
“It’s kind of boilers for dummies.” Walter said with a laugh. “I don’t have to do really any maintenance for them. They’re pretty much automatic.”
And, like it did with the lighting project, Focus on Energy provided a financial incentive to the church for investing in energy efficiency; a $15,600 check to help offset the initial cost. In addition, the more efficient boilers are expected to save the church money on its energy bills for years to come.
The boilers are estimated to save 5,130 therms of natural gas in the first year and 102,600 therms over their lifetime compared to baseline models. To help put it in perspective, that lifecycle savings amount is enough to power 65 average homes for one year.
Walter says the church is now working with Focus on Energy on a third project, replacing some lighting in the sanctuary. He rates his overall experience with the energy efficiency program and the Trade Ally contractor as very positive.
“We’ve been very happy with them. Very reachable when we have questions, very knowledgeable and were able to give us some advice on different things.”
Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd is a customer of Xcel Energy, one of 107 Wisconsin utilities that fund the Focus on Energy program. Customers of those utilities are eligible for the energy expertise and financial incentives the program offers.
The most recent independent evaluation found every $1 invested in Focus on Energy programs creates $5.93 in benefits for Wisconsin, including economic benefits, reduced energy costs, and reduced pollution.
About Focus on Energy
Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities' statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program funded by the state's investor-owned energy utilities and participating municipal and electric cooperative utilities. Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Focus on Energy information, resources and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not be completed. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect our environment and control Wisconsin's growing demand for electricity and natural gas. For more information call 800.762.7077 or visit focusonenergy.com.
Eau Claire, WI
Xcel Energy (Northern States Power)