The mission statement at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in downtown Hanover, New Hampshire is - “All welcome - no exceptions - to worship, love, serve, and grow.“
The members of St. Thomas Church have spent years working on various parts of their mission. But this year, after evaluating the Church’s work, the members decided to spend more time and energy to focus on the environmental aspects of their mission. What things could they do within their facilities to be greener?
To answer that question and with a goal to work on "greening " St. Thomas, they formed a team of ten members dubbed the 'St. Thomas Green Team' and began research on what they could do.
Not knowing how to do this themselves, they enlisted the help of a professional energy auditor. It is tough to look at a facility and determine on your own how to make it more environmentally friendly. So bringing in Jon Haehnel of Zero by Degrees was a good decision. Jon helped them prioritize where they could make a difference. He identified several ways that St. Thomas could lower their carbon footprint.
With the energy audit in hand, the St. Thomas Green Team decided to tackle the highest contributors to their carbon footprint at the Church facilities. These all related to the heating, hot water, distribution and energy management systems. It was time for an upgrade!
After researching a variety of options to heat greener, St. Thomas selected to use modern, efficient wood pellet heat. They reached out to Lyme Green Heat, a local Upper Valley dealer in OkoFen wood pellet heating systems. Together, they began the process of designing and upgrading the Church’s systems to replace their Buderus oil heating system, building management controls and circulator pumps with modern wood pellet heat.
At first, the St. Thomas Green Team did not know much about modern wood pellet heat. To learn more about wood pellet heating, the Green Team did lots of research. They toured several existing systems. They talked with other Lyme Green Heat wood pellet heating customers. They learned more about working with Lyme Green Heat on the installation process. They learned how service and fuel delivery works. At the end of all this due diligence, the Green Team concluded that Lyme Green Heat and the systems they proposed were a perfect fit for them and their goals!
As for the cost of the system? Well, the state of New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NH PUC) rebate program made the decision easier and much more affordable. St. Thomas was able to apply and reserve their rebate funding quick enough so that the project work could start quickly.
Phase 1 of the project is well on its way now and the members of St. Thomas couldn't have expected it to go any smoother.
“Morton and his team have been wonderful! Working around schedules and even cleaning up after another contractor's mess. We are very happy and excited to use our new system!” says Tonya Gilman, Property Manager at St. Thomas Church.