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Local Project

Mount Zion United African Church (Project Complete)
1453 N 52nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Rev Joseph C. Abu – Pastor

Rev Joseph Abu is a graduate of the Centennial Secondary School in Sierra Leone, site of EWB’s largest and most ambitious international project.  Rev Abu’s congregation has a large number of immigrants from Sierra Leone.   Joe’s church struggles with its utility bills and asked if EWB-LVP could help.  As a result an energy audit was performed on the Mt. Zion United African Church and its attached buildings to identify opportunities to lower energy costs.

On Friday, October 3rd, 2014, Ed Brignole, Bob Stock and Gary Englehardt visited Joe Abu’s church at 1453 North 52nd Street, Philadelphia.  The building was among other things a movie theater many years ago. 

A detailed analysis of the information gathered during the audit was being performed by Ed and Bob.  A few observations were shared with Rev. Abu during the day of the audit.

Unrelated to the audit, it was noted that the existing gas fired hot water heating system is broken.  The surge tank was water locked and the piping and controls in the subterranean vault where the furnace is located are rusted and corroded.  Rev Abu is evaluating repair vs replacement.

A review of the PECO electric bill revealed a surprise.  Although the church is air conditioned, the greatest cost of electricity occurs in the months of December, January and February.  That pattern extended over multiple years.  

We were able to determine that the building temperature is routinely lowered to 60 degrees during the four days per week that it is not in use.  Unfortunately the thermostat for the gas furnace is turned up to 72 degrees only an hour or so before the congregation assembles.  Two large forced hot air HVAC units are located in the main meeting room.  These units are also turned on at the same time.  In the winter each of the two units activates 20KW of electric resistance heating to help warm the space quickly.  The net effect is to drive significant electrical consumption long before the gas furnace can add significant heat input plus the 40KW of demand triggers a demand surcharge on the electric bill.  Various technical approaches are being evaluated to eliminate this problem.

It was also noted that none of the forced hot air systems had air filters and the expansion coils were heavily coated with dust.

There are well over 100 fluorescent tubes in use lighting the facility.  These 40 watt T-12 bulbs can be replaced with 34 watt energy conserving bulbs during their normal replacement cycle without need for additional capital investment in high efficiency lighting fixtures.

Final Report
The final report addressed additional measures and suggestions but the items listed above were the most significant.

The final report was divided into multiple sections; Safety and Critical items (needing immediate attention), Low & No Cost Opportunities, Maintenance Improvements, which can help save additional energy, and Other Items which represent opportunity to save energy and money but have a longer payback. 

The report was well received by Rev Abu and his church and they initiated implementation immediately.

Thanks to all of our volunteers-we cannot “Build a Better World One Community at a Time” without you!