Pipe Organ Advice

Memo from a local pipe organ builder

While working with a church in South Philadelphia, we learned about a September 15, 2006 memo from the Mudler-Hunter Company, Pipe Organ Builders, 2638 W. Gordon Street, Philadelphia 19132, (215) 229-5470.  We thought you might like to read it too:

“To prolong the life of the pipe organ, keep the heat as LOW as possible when the building is not in use. This not only adds years to the leather and other material in the instrument, but also saves on the fuel bill.

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Charging for Rented Space

A compendium of information
January 2001,The Interfaith Coalition on Energy

How to Determine Energy Costs for Rented Space

Frequently, ICE receives requests from churches who are interested in renting space to groups, but they are confused about what to charge to cover energy costs.

If you go through the following steps, you will arrive at a rough estimate of the energy cost involved in renting space in your facility. Please bear in the result from following these steps is an estimate of energy cost. lf you can actually measure the consumption for use of the various parts of your facility, those measurements would likely be more accurate than an estimate.

We think that it is best to estimate energy costs for rented space in two ways.

The first way involves estimates of energy costs for the occasional user. For your protection, it is best to anticipate that these users will want to rent space during the coldest hour in the winter or hottest hour in the summer.

The second way involves estimates of energy costs for the regular user, such as a day-care center or Alcoholics Anonymous, that will occupy your facility regularly, every week over a longer period of time.

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Questions to Ask Contractors

Are you soliciting bids for work on your systems for heating, lighting, cooling, ventilating, cooking or water heating?

Here are some suggestions to check the quality of the proposals you receive.

Does the contractor:

Include references for similar recent projects along with the proposal?

List his or her street address and phone numbers, or just a post office box?

Date the proposal?

Clearly describe what will be done?

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Questions for Retiring Custodians, Janitors and Maintenance Supervisors

Religious buildings are complicated – big boilers, commercial air conditioning systems, stained glass, pipe organs, slate roofs, masonry and artwork.  Inside religious buildings are terrazzo, tile, wood, concrete, and sometimes rubber floors. Add to that the ability of a custodian to deal with various agendas, myths, committee politics, tight budgets, and the mission of the congregation, and we then know it takes a special person to maintain our buildings.

And, then they retire.  What can your congregation do to smooth the transition from an experience maintenance person to someone just starting out? 

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Questions and Requests for Vendors of Control Systems

From the Interfaith Coalition on Energy, September 17, 2005

We are fans of very simple control systems.  Often, however, we hear from congregations who have been approached by sales people selling energy management or building automation systems, or other types of complicated control systems. We think that congregations purchasing such control systems, give up control of their facilities to some extent to the installing contractor. 

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Suggestions for Facility Maintenance, Maintainance Hints

By Andrew Rudin, Project Coordinator, The Interfaith Coalition on Energy

Congregations face several difficulties in developing a good maintenance program for their buildings and equipment. Changes in property committees, maintenance personnel and clergy disrupt the continuity of maintenance programs.  ICE has some suggestions for developing and improving maintenance of buildings and mechanical systems.

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Draft of a Job Description for a Property Manager for a religious congregation

Job Description Property Manager

 ( This Article is available to download in a printable version in PDF Format here )

[Alternative titles — Sexton, Custodian, Maintenance Person]

The following is a draft of a job description for a Property Manager for a religious congregation.  Each congregation who uses this document must fill in blanks, strike out phrases that do not apply and add phrases that do apply.  The goal of the final document is to be used by both the congregation and the Property Manager to improve communication and facilitate better facility management with fewer misunderstandings.

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Hints about Installing New Heating Systems

The Interfaith Coalition on Energy – July 2004 (Revised November 2012)

When a congregation wants to replace a heating system, here are a series of suggestions to them that could lower both the purchase cost and the cost of installation.  If you have old equipment, you should start setting aside funds for replacing it. The typical life of a boiler or furnace is 25 to 35 years. 

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