Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A hot shower is a happy shower

Update for Cedar:

 The water heater is 110 gallons, and it's about to rust out! If you look under it, every two seconds or so it drips water.  It needs to be replaced before April. We will save money with the new water heater for two reasons: because we can easily turn it off when there is no group in Cedar for a few days, and it is more efficient when it is running. We will see at least a 20%, $150 savings per year.

Our customers are the biggest reason to switch the water heater. They will be much happier, because the current water heater is only good for 6 showers... and there are usually 50 people in the lodge. The new water heater is an instant water heater, so whether you are the first one in the shower or the 35th in the line, a hot shower will be waiting.

 Here is where we are going to save money! We have two furnaces that are only 65% efficiency. Last year Cedar used 3,000 gallons of propane. Now if you update those to 95% efficiency furnaces:

$7,500 -10% for water heater = $6,750 - 32% =  $2,160 savings per year $5,000 cost for upgrade /$2,150 = 2.3 years for ROI (Return Of Investment).

Want to partner with us to help purchase these furnaces and the water heater? Click here and select "General Maintenance" from the "Choose what to give to" drop-down list.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A long awaited update

Well it's been almost a year since I last updated. We have done a lot, so I'll update you with some but not all that we have done.

 At Work & Worship we put spray foam insulation in the crawlspace at Cabin 7. The old insulation was destroyed by critters, and the little that was left was falling down. Only 10% of the crawlspace was insulated. Two of my volunteers from Kansas, Gerald and Ben, came up and scraped all the old stuff off and sprayed foam insulation.

Prior to all this, the pipes under here froze twice during our cold and windy winters, costing time and money to fix all the damage. Thanks to the new insulation, this won't be happening again! We will also save some money in heating costs. I was able to get this spray foam thanks to my donors who support the Cut 90 Project. Here is a link that shows how the foam works: http://www.sprayfoamkit.com/videos-a-how-tos/hgtvs-jeff-wilson-with-foam-it-green

New boiler at Chief's Head Peak: The old boiler was a 40% efficiency and the new is 95% efficiency. We will be seeing some savings this winter! We put in new windows and a new slider door (single pane to double pane). 

  Wood Burner update!
You might ask, “Why did we not see the savings, and why were we over-budget for 2013?”

Here are some variables:

1.     The price of propane went up 40% from 2012 (it’s going up more in 2014). 
2.     We got charged taxes somehow. I’m working now to get that refunded: $2,566.63!
3.     At the Dining Hall we added two new gas dryers (previously electric), and they get used everyday. 
4.     We had a 1.5% decrease in guest groups from 2012. 

We still need to get the rest of the Dining Hall and two more cabins hooked up to the wood burner. I can’t wait to see the savings in 2014! We will have a whole year of savings, while in 2013 we didn’t start until October. We did hook up the cabin at the beginning of 2013. For the time it takes – 15 minutes a day to fill and check, and an hour a month to do PMs – it is WELL worth the investment for the return we are getting. For the most part we have volunteer groups coming up to cut and stack wood for us. Just in the last month we have been cutting wood for 4 hours every week to keep up our supply. This summer I’m planning on having a lot more wood stacked up for the winter so we don’t have to get out in the snow as much. Some of you have asked how much wood we go through. We use about a cord in a week and a half.

We saved over 2,590 gallons of propane from Jan.-Aug. this year compared to last year. Gas prices were very high at $4.57 per gallon. Based on current market values, how much propane we use, and past supplier’s prices that was gouging us. We have switched to a new company called Hygiene propane. I feel good about this move because they have been around for 30+ years, and I’ve talked with different people and other camps that have worked with them and they are all happy with their service. I like that the owner is the one who delivers, so now I don’t have to call a 1-800 number and talk to someone in AZ. We can now lock-in gas at $1.99 for the peak time from Dec. 31 to Feb. 24 so we won’t have to pay $4.25 per gallon. We use 23,000 gallons per year.

The Dining Hall is 100% on the wood burner for heat and hot water now.

We are currently hooking up the new Office to the wood burner.

This summer we had a lot of volunteers cutting trees and chopping and stacking logs to get ready for winter. We have been blessed to have three men that are trained pro tree guys that have been spending a lot of time helping at camp. We still have a lot of fire mitigation to do. We are looking for high school youth groups and other willing hands.

Are you interested in helping? Call Jesse to find out how to donate money or other resources, or call Mike to find out how to get involved with volunteering! 970-586-2900

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Water plant insulation

A wonderful friend gave camp some money to seal up the water plant better. The wind blows all the heat right out in the winter months. Currently the walls have a R-13 fiberglass insulation, but we added another  R-16 with this insulation. It is a radiant barrier and a vapor barrier, which is good because the high humidity is damaging to the fiberglass. Now the water plant has R-29 on the walls!

You can see more about the insulation at: http://www.insulation4less.com/Insulation4lessProduct-1-Prodex-Total-48-Inch.aspx

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dining Hall heat

We got the water heater all up and running for the Dining Hall. That's a lot of hot water!

Now we are heating the Dining Hall and the staff housing below it with the wood burner. The white pipes you can see going into the top of the furnace pipe 180*F water into coils, and the furnace fan blows it into the building.

Monday, September 30, 2013

I have not been keeping up with the blog too well lately... but we have done a lot with the wood burner this summer!
Bill and Mecaila did a huge amount of work toward it, and helped in other ways too! We got the pipe put in from the wood burner to Alpine (the bathhouse) and to the Dining Hall with 1" super insulated pipes like these in the picture

First we worked on Alpine. We were a bit intimidated to start with the Dining Hall, because of all the duct work. Not only was it tight, but we also had never done it before - and it was going to be a job! 

The long black pipe installed on the front of the water heater is the heat exchanger. Most water heaters are set at 120*F. This heat exchanger will make the water 180*F. That means as long as the wood burner is burning, the temperature will stay above 120*F, causing the electric part of the water heater to not turn on. And of course the electric part of the water heater not running means no money is spent!! If the wood burner is not running, say if it isn't stocked with wood on Christmas or Thanksgiving, the electric will kick on as soon as the temperature drops below 120*F, meaning no frozen pipes even if the burner is off.

180*F is too hot coming out for use, so we needed to put in a mixing valve. You can see it on top of the tank. It mixes the 180*F with cooled water to make 120*F water.

As for the heat for the bathhouse, we got it hooked up to the boiler so when it calls for heat, the pump turns on and moves the water through the heat exchanger (which is at 180*F) and the boiler runs at 150*F.

Now, if the wood burner runs it will keep the water running from the wood burner to the buildings at 180*F, and the electric water heater and gas boiler will not run unless the water temperature gets below 120*F. This would happen if the burner is not loaded with wood, or if the demand on the wood burner is too much (like in below freezing weather) and the wood burner can't keep up, the water heater and boiler will use electricity or gas to keep up. 

A small but important part of the whole arrangement is BayWeb. It is a web based thermostat, which I can monitor and control right from my smartphone. It sends me an email if the temperature of the system gets outside the limits I set, which lets me catch any issues before guests become uncomfortable and before pipes get to freezing temperatures! (You wouldn't believe how often pipes would freeze in lodges and such before I found BayWeb...) Thanks Pat and Patsy for providing the BayWeb! 

A huge thanks to Bill and Mecaila for all their hard work helping me on this project. They enjoyed working on a project with such a big impact saving money from utilities, that we can now use for the ministry! 
This project is a great example of what Cut 90% and Do More is all about: reducing the amount of money needed for necessary things like utilities by implementing energy efficient and green energy measures, so that a bigger portion of our funds can channeled toward direct ministry: reaching kids for Christ. Now that is a goal worth working toward!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Wood Burner is Running!

It's AL-I-I-I-I-I-I-IVE!!! Last week we spent a lot of time to get this going. Two guys came up to get the boiler room all set up and running right.

Saturday, the Covenant Heights Board of Directors came for a meeting and got to see camp's new wood boiler fired up for the very first time. Terry Ruch, our BOD president, got the honor of starting it up. Now we get to start saving money with this huge part of the Cut 90 project!

Terry R lighting the burner.
Terry R and Mike.
  BOD left to right: Gerald, Hannah, Lee, Tom (Camp Director), Terry D, Evan, Tracy, Glenn, Mike (Maintenance Director), Terry R. (not pictured: Nancy, Josh, and Chuck
This is a smokeless unit, but it does have smoke when it is very first started!

The wood burner is currently heating Cabin 8. In about a week we should have Cabin 7 hooked up as well. We are working on putting in-floor heating in Cabin 7 now. After Cabin 7 is hooked up, Cabins 9 and 10 will be next, with the Dining Hall following when the ground finally thaws.

The wood burner is so efficient, it is actually having trouble heating just Cabin 8 at the moment, because it's not a large enough load for it! There is not enough heat being called for with just one cabin, so it keeps tamping down the fire until it actually smolders out. I can't wait to get the other cabins and the Dining Hall hooked up so this things can run full bore.

Thanks for your interest in camp and support.
If you are ever interested in volunteering, or just want to know more please contact Mike at Mike@CovenantHeights.org.

And, if you want to help us continue to improve camp for our campers, please consider making a tax deductible gift to Covenant Heights. Online Giving Here

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wood Burner Update!

I got the wood burner installed and hooked up! Now all the work is inside. The plan is to fire it up on April 13th, when our board members are here. It's been hard finding time the last two weeks to work on it because of routine things I need to keep up around camp, problems arising, and wonderful volunteers.
My problem is that I want it going now; the way I look at it, every day that goes by we miss money we could have saved. But I have realized I need to take care other things as well, and it's all in God's timing - not mine.