South Jersey church shines light, saves money
WOODBURY, N.J. - February 19, 2011 (WPVI) -- A South Jersey Church is letting its light shine in a new way, an energy saving way that's also saving money.
If a Church's role is to be a beacon of light in the community, Hope Christian Fellowship in Woodbury, New Jersey, is taking it literally.
Brian Ott is an engineer who travels the globe helping big companies find big savings by becoming more energy efficient.
So, when Mark Ott, Brian's brother and Pastor at Hope Christian, bought this building, formerly a Jewish synagogue, he turned to Brian to help cut costs.
"The building was spending about $15,000 a year on utilities before we purchased it," said Brian Ott.
"I said Brian, help us out, and he pointed out things that were super easy to do. Very low cost, but high impact, and we started with those," explained Mark Ott, Pastor of Hope Christian Fellowship.
Brian started by simply changing out light bulb; where there were four, he put two more efficient ones.
In the sanctuary, they installed new overhead fixtures and LED spotlights.
All told, the simple fixes cost them about $5,000, money they made back within three months of lower bills.
And that was just the beginning. From there, new thermostats and a high efficiency heating and cooling system made the cuts even more dramatic.
While Mark noticed in the wallet, his growing congregation noticed in other ways.
"We actually had folks who would come in and wear sunglasses because it was just too harsh for them," said Pastor Ott.
While most of the changes are purposefully subtle, they are getting some major recognition. The Hope Christian Fellowship Church was one of just 10 churches in the country to win the Energy Star Designation last year.
"They look at your efficiency as a building, and if you're in the top 25 percent of buildings of your type then you win the award," explained Brian.
For an engineer, it's an honor. For a pastor, it's an answered prayer.
"It really creates the warmth and the ease for people not to be distracted by other things but to get to the core of why we're here as a church, the message that we're trying to get across," said Pastor Ott.
new jersey, energy, money saving, local/state, brian taff
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