Keeping Congregation Warm, Bills Down at Historic Church

Milwaukee, Wis.
We Energies

Milwaukee, Wis. – A boiler replacement project happened just in time to ensure one congregation in the heart of Milwaukee will be comfortable this winter and many more to come.

Leaders at Cross Lutheran Church knew the boilers in the 150-year-old church were on their last legs but put off replacing them in 2017 and 2018, believing the upgrades were beyond their financial means.

“Upon entering 2019, we found on most occasions we were blessed to have heat, but we experienced great difficulty in regulating the heat temperature in the various areas of both buildings. Heat distribution throughout our environment ranged from very hot to no heat,” said Parish Administrator Linda J. Carr-Carlson, adding that repair and maintenance costs for the failing boilers were starting to strain the church’s budget.

The church had been introduced to the FOCUS ON ENERGY® Program by their utility, We Energies. Lori Griesbach, an Energy Advisor with Focus on Energy, was in discussions with church leaders about replacing the boilers for more than a year. Griesbach confirmed for them the best Focus on Energy program to use to get the best financial incentives for upgrading to more energy-efficient equipment.

“Each contractor [that gave a quote for the project] expressed a willingness to help us accomplish the Focus on Energy pre-qualification process,” Carr-Carlson said. “As it turned out, the process was not complicated and we were able to complete the pre-qualification requirements without the contractor’s assistance.”

Best Choice Mechanical, a new Focus on Energy Trade Ally contractor, installed four high-efficiency boilers to replace the two older ones. The four boilers provide built-in redundancy and staging controls that will fire the appropriate number of boilers to satisfy the church’s heating needs throughout the year.

Focus on Energy provided $15,288 in financial incentives to help the church offset its initial investment in energy efficiency. In addition, upgrading the boilers will help the church save more than $3,700 annually in avoided energy costs.

The new boilers, over the life of the equipment, will save an estimated 115,733 therms of natural gas, which has the greenhouse gas savings equivalent of taking 130 cars off the road for a year.

“I went out and post-inspected the boiler install and learned great things about Cross Lutheran. This Church is the center of the Milwaukee community and does many good things for the people who live there, including meal programs, a medical clinic, a dental clinic and counseling,” Energy Advisor Griesbach said. “The church really needed the incentive and will put the incentive dollars that they receive towards payment of the boiler install, then also [upgrade] their lighting to LED in the busy fellowship hall.”

“We would definitely recommend the Focus on Energy Program to other Milwaukee business owners. The Focus on Energy staff is easy to work with and they possess a wealth of knowledge and useful resources,” Carr-Carlson said.

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

Photo: Cross Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, Wis.

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