Oldest Baptist Church in America Installs Triad Boilers

Church Realizes Historic Savings with TRIAD

First Baptist Church Providence RI

The First Baptist Church in Providence, RI is the nation’s oldest Baptist Church. It was founded by Roger Williams in 1638, making it the oldest private institution of any kind in Rhode Island. From its tiny beginnings, this 368 year old church grew to become one of the largest and most influential Baptist churches in the nation. The church had no meeting house until 1700. In that year a tiny 20’ x 20’ building was erected. In 1774 the present meetinghouse was built, making it the largest construction project in New England. It seated 1,200 people, equal to one third of Providence’s population at the time.

Construction was greatly aided by the fact that the British had closed the port of Boston as punishment for the Boston Tea Party. Many shipwrights and carpenters were thrown out of work and came to Providence for this project. The structure was dedicated in May 1775 and the 185 foot steeple was added shortly thereafter. (The first steeple ever on a Baptist church in New England). Today this amazing structure is a National Historic Landmark.

The building’s existing steam heating plant, two cast iron 40 HP Smith boilers, were nearly 40 years old and experiencing leaks in several areas and operating well below their original efficiency. Industrial Burner Service had been servicing this equipment and recommended a system upgrade to modernize the boiler room, increase efficiency and improve reliability.

First Baptist Church Sanctuary

Also, a church wing added 20 years ago was heated using a hot water loop off of the same steam system that heated the main portion of the building.This resulted in that wing constantly being overheated. Compounding these issues was the fact that because of the extreme age and design of the building, there was very limited access to the boiler room.

Combustion Heat & Power, and its service division Industrial Burner Service, presented a complete new boiler room package to the First Baptist Church Board of Directors. The church was initially planning to replace the Smith boilers with new Smith cast iron boilers. But they were intrigued by the modular concept, the reliability of steel, and the fully assembled, “packaged” nature of the TRIAD boilers that came ready to fit into the very tight space, with no sections to put together. Further, in the summer, the church would be able to shut the steam boilers down and only fire the hot water boiler for domestic service water. Previously, the large Smith boilers had to be fired all summer. The board realized the potential for tremendous fuel savings.

The church obtained quotes from two other contractors offering Smith, yet when all costs (including labor) were factored in, the TRIAD boilers were less expensive. Two Series 900 TRIAD Steam Boilers, firing at 1000MBH, and one Series 600 SH-C-DHW combination boiler, firing at 600MBH, (to produce both domestic hot water and hot water heating for the newer wing), solved the building’s problems.

The two modular TRIAD steam boilers are sequenced with a Preferred Instruments PCC-III control that stages and lead-lags the two boilers. The control panel also monitors outdoor air and operates two three-way valves – one for hot water heating and one for domestic hot water. This control scheme was designed by Combustion Heat & Power, Inc., the TRIAD representative in Providence, RI.

This historic church is very pleased with this project and is realizing significant energy cost savings.

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