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First Church of Lombard lights up during difficult time

Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014 4:28 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:51 p.m. CST
Caption
A new energy-efficient lamp helps light the parking lot at First Church of Lombard. The church recently completed $44,000 worth of lighting renovations at its three buildings, including Maple Street Chapel (background). (David Good - dgood@shawmedia.com)

LOMBARD – The naked eye might not be able to detect what $44,000 in lighting renovations looks like, but the environmental impact for First Church of Lombard UCC is difficult to miss.

More than $44,000 in outside financial assistance allowed the church, 220 S. Main St. in Lombard, to upgrade its lighting with energy-efficient florescent and LED bulbs in all three of its buildings: Outreach House, Maple Street Chapel and the main churchbuilding.

In the recently renamed Hatfield Hall on the church’s main campus, the upgrades reduced the room’s wattage needs from 15,000 watts to just 1,100, according to Larry Hebert, a member of the church’s management committee. Nearly 140 bulbs were changed in the main sanctuary, and even the six light towers in the parking lot received a makeover and went from 960 watts to 78 watts each.

A grand total of 32,514 annual kilowatt hours will be saved (from 40,810 to 8,296) as a result of the upgrades, according to Project Green Environmental Solutions, which did the work.

Replacing the fixtures and bulbs in Hatfield Hall alone cost about $10,000.

“It was going to be a long time before the church was able to do something like that,” Herbert said.

That’s where Project Green came in. The Forest Park company, a Commonwealth Edison trade ally, helped the church obtain a Small Business Energy Savings subsidy from ComEd and a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, which combined to cover about 72 percent of the project costs.

Project Green president Michael Holmes said his company chipped in the rest in the form of labor and engineering costs.

“We do so many regular businesses, when we get a chance to do something good like this … we jump at the chance,” Holmes said. “We get to help out and feel good about it too.”

The opportunity came at a difficult time for the church. Rob Hatfield, the church’s pastor for 25 years, died of a heart attack in February 2013. As the church family grieved its sudden loss, the lighting project started in May and progressed during the next several months.

One year later on Feb. 16, the church named Hatfield Hall after its long-time pastor. Three days before the dedication ceremony, the final lights were installed.

“It was perfect timing,” Herbert said, adding that improving the lighting had been a goal of Hatfield’s. “These people coming in at this difficult time in the church’s history was really neat.”

The Lombard church learned about Project Green and the grant by word of mouth from another church. After serving as liaison between the church and Project Green, Herbert, who owned a home improvement business before retiring, said he would definitely recommend this opportunity to other nonprofits.

“It’s overwhelming. They wanted to do this,” Herbert said of Project Green. “I understand the firm gets paid for this. But they went above and beyond on this.”

In addition to using less energy, the new florescent bulbs are expected to last up to 10 years and the LED lights 25 years.

“None of us are going to miss getting up on big tall letters and changing bulbs,” Herbert said.

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By the numbers

The lighting renovations at First Church of Lombard UCC is expected to save 32,514 annual kilowatt hours. Project Green Environmental Solutions said that number is equivalent to:

8: Tons of waste sent to a landfill

24,072: Pounds of coal burned

52.1: Barrels of oil consumed

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Know more

Learn more about energy-savings financial assistsant at illinoiscleanenergy.org and comed.com.

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