Church board votes to stay the course despite denial
The council denied the permit based on the expertise of city Public Works Director Craig Platt, whose primary concern, among other things, was that the installation of the heating and cooling system could lead to a possible contamination of the city’s water supply.
As a result of the meeting, the council then directed Platt and Steve Bejcek, owner of Steve’s Pumps and Well Drilling in Janesville and potential installer of the church’s pump, to get together and come up with a set of guidelines for the city to adopt when people wanted to install a ground source heat pump.
President of the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church board Phil Parry said he learned more information that points to a GSHP being the most cost effective heat source for the church. He said he had talked with energy use consultant Martin Balding and energy services specialist for Lassen Municipal Utility District Theresa Phillips about alternative fuel costs compared to ground source heat pumps.
Parry explained how using information obtained from Balding and Phillips, it looked like GSHPs were the best option by far. He used information provided from testing assessments on the Historic Susanville Railroad Depot, which had a ground source heat pump installed on site last year.
“During the 213 days that the system ran to supply heat to the depot, the compressor and circulation pumps used 6,473 kilowatt hours of electricity,” Parry said, “At a cost of $970.95. The heat, moved from the ground, combined with the electrical energy, supplied the building with 956.32 therms of heat energy.”
“To provide that much heat, an oil, propane or natural gas furnace, operating at 88 percent efficiency, would need to burn 1,086.7 therms of fuel.”
Parry further broke it down in comparison to other fuels.
Parry said at the 88 percent efficiency rate for the heaters, the following costs are estimated: oil at $3 a gallon, would have cost $2,414.88. Propane, at $2.50 a gallon, would have cost to $2,969.12. Natural gas, at $2.44 per therm, would have cost $2,651.55. Parry made a point of explaining how each of the heat alternatives was almost three times the cost of the GSHP. His comparison of wood based heat sources was also noticeably higher than the cost of using the GSHP.
Phillips said the GSHP at the depot was originally used as a guinea pig for LMUD’s involvement with the equipment. According to the city’s secretary for community development Tammie Wilson, the permit for that project was issued by the city on April 3, 2007. Officially, the permit for the project was issued “for the installation of an HVAC mechanical ground loop heat exchange with associated electrical.”
Parry also compared it to various wood heating costs as well. He said it didn’t matter whether it was pine or oak, the wood costs were all higher than the GSHP used to heat the depot.
Wilson was able to confirm that the public works department stopped the project for a brief period of time because of a concern over potential water contamination at the site. Wilson said the project was eventually re-opened, and on Oct. 9, 2007, the installation was inspected, approved and closed on.
Parry said the church board will continue to apply pressure to the council, at least to get guidelines drawn up for heat pumps in the city limits.
As for the money that was loaned to the church by the Lutheran Extension Fund to make the church more energy efficient, the church board decided to return all of the money to the fund that didn’t go toward upgrading the church’s lighting systems. Parry said the church won’t be charged a penalty for not using all of the loan. If the church can eventually get a permit for the GSHP, the church will be able to get the money back to install and maintain it.
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