Avenue Baptist Church in Southend-on-Sea is a busy church providing vital services to the local community, from playgroups for young families, to football clubs for the youth, to meals for the vulnerable and elderly, Avenue Baptist Church caters for all in the local community.
The church has the environment in their sights as well, and the leadership team feel passionately about reducing their carbon footprint, improving their environmental credentials and reducing energy costs, allowing them to channel the money saved into front line services.
With an antiquated and expensive to run gas heating system connected to wet radiators heating tall rooms, this meant that the cost of keeping the church warm for the various activities was mounting up. Using traditional radiators was not right for the tall rooms where all of the heat (hot air) would rise up to the top of the building leaving those using the rooms cold and the cost of heating astronomically high.
The church brought in some heating professionals and it was recommended to them that the solution was to swap to Far Infrared panels. These heating panels being Infrared mean that they heat the people and the objects in the room and not the air. Because they don’t heat the air this saves a lot of energy as in tall rooms the hot air simply rises up into the high ceilings and is no use to anyone up there!
The environmental credentials of these Far Infrared heating panels comes from the upwards of 50% reduction in energy required to heat the building to the same comfort levels, and purchasing the electricity from a green and renewable electricity tariff. Also, they now have little in the way of maintenance costs for the church for at least the next 15 years. Some similar sites also offset some of the electricity used for the heating by installing solar PV, and feeding it back into the grid in the summer months making the site as a whole carbon neutral.
The church came to Genius Hub to provide the control of these new electric heating panels. Genius Hub not only offer zoned control of each room from an app, but also occupancy detection, so any zone can easily be set up so it only comes on when people are using the room. This is done with a little occupancy sensor in the room and this automatically turns the heating off when the room is left, giving peace of mind to the Deacons (management) of the church that energy will not be wasted heating empty rooms and saving the church a lot of money.
After the installation of the panels and the Genius Hub we interviewed Dr. Terence Lewis (project manager), about why he went down the Far Infrared route and why he chose smart controls. This is what he had to say:
Why smart heating controls?
Having used smart heating controls previously it was clearly the only way forward. I believe it is the future, offering maximum savings for minimum cost.
Why did you choose Genius Hub?
We chose Genius Hub because they came highly recommended by the specifiers of the Far Infrared panels. I was not concerned about this “new” technology because I did a lot of research before I started. There is a lot of information and proof now that this sort of technology is both reliable and future proof.
How did you design the system?
Designing the new heating system was easy, I designed it with the help of the Infrared heating provider, who did a thorough design of the lighting and also the heating. First impressions of Genius Hub impressed me, especially with its ease of use and flexibility. It can control the church’s new electric heating and we will be able to expand it to control the underfloor and radiators in the rest of the church if budgets allow.
How much can Genius Hub save on your bill?
We’re aiming for an excess of 45% savings on the energy bills because we are combining the Far Infrared technology with the better control and LED lighting. We know that Genius Hub alone can save upwards of 30% so that, with swapping the old wet radiators to Far Infrared heaters the savings will all stack up quickly.
What do you like about Infrared heating?
An important consideration is we are very motivated to look after God’s planet, reducing the toxic emissions from the old gas boilers and moving to green electricity is all part of looking after the planet, as well as the cost savings being a benefit.
Was there anything you were concerned about?
No. Because I did a lot of research before I started.
How was the installation?
We were pleased that the installation was done by local contractors (which is the recommendation of Genius Hub) and though they had not installed the Genius Hub before, the engineer from Genius Hub visited the site during the installation and checked that it was all being installed in line with their strict guidelines.
Would you recommend Genius Hub?
Yes – definitely.
Have you benefited in any other way?
Yes we now have a more comfortable environment for the church congregation and the wider communities who use our facility.
Really, I’m already looking forward to next winter when we can give the system a really good trial and demonstrate the predicted savings and reduced carbon footprint!’