Full Steam Ahead?

Full Steam Ahead! Well, maybe not. By now you might have heard that the Vestry has authorized the replacement of our 1970’s vintage steam boiler. You probably don’t know that the steam boiler is but one of seven appliances that use gas here. Among them are three smaller boilers and a forced-air gas furnace, a space heater, two hot water tanks—and our main steam boiler for the Church.

Although we keep the usage down by turning the thermostats down to the extent that it’s like a meat locker in many areas of the Church most of the time, our utility costs tend to skyrocket. The proposed change in the main boiler will be to replace a behemoth that cranks out over 900,000 BTU’s at 65% efficiency with a smaller unit that is about 94% efficient. The new unit will be part of a hot water system, so we will not have to construct a new, separate, contained boiler-room as was originally contemplated.

It is expected that the savings in gas usage for this unit will likely offset the expense of the purchase and installation of the unit, with a total payback in five to seven years. Controlling the utility costs is a part of our collective stewardship at Saint Paul’s.

Part of our motivation is to save money; part of it has to do with the stewardship of God’s creation and natural resources. That is not readily apparent to most of us—when people are about, we generally try to make the building comfortable. Want to see another side of Saint Paul’s? Come have coffee in the Sunday School area on a Monday morning in January, and you’ll be praying for the gift of heavenly fire in no time at all.

Energy matters are important. But, so is what we do here at Saint Paul’s in terms of our own stewardship. We are soon to be entering that season in which we are invited to do what we can to strengthen the parish and to provide for this wonderful place that is our spiritual home. There’s a practical side to stewardship—for us to assure that Saint Paul’s will be here for future generations, we have to do our part in the here and now. Well, full steam ahead!


Father Greg+



About canongreg

I have been Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Wellsboro, PA since 1994.
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