Sponsored: Church welcomes energy-saving revelations


This article is sponsored by Rocky Mountain Power.

Located in a classic mid-century building in the center of Salt Lake City’s Ballpark Neighborhood, the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga in Utah was founded on July 26, 1989, and currently serves a community of 30 to 40 families while welcoming new parishioners.   

Some of the building’s systems were approaching the end of their useful life. Thanks to a partnership between Utah Clean Energy and Rocky Mountain Power’s Wattsmart Business program, the church modernized and enhanced its facilities through renovations and upgrades.   


Outdated fluorescent lighting was replaced with energy-efficient LED flat panels which improved the ambiance and illumination throughout the building. In addition to the new lighting, they built a new community center building which includes a gymnasium, locker room, and office areas with a high efficiency HVAC system, lighting, and a cool roof over the gym area. The new community center will be a place for the church to cultivate growth, development, and meaningful engagement with the youth in the community.

These upgrades save about 38,000 kilowatt-hours every year, which is enough energy to power 54 average-sized homes for a year and reduces the church’s operating costs by 40-60%. Almost all of the cost of the upgrades and construction were covered by a grant from Utah Clean Energy and energy efficiency incentives from Rocky Mountain Power’s Wattsmart Business program.


“We are so happy. We are so grateful,” said the Rev. Maama Fihaki, pastor of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga in Utah. “It lifts the burden of the cost and lifts the burden from my heart for me for taking care of this church.”

Rocky Mountain Power is committed to local communities and one way we build community is through our Wattsmart programs. By providing technical expertise and cash incentives, the Wattsmart Business program gives customers information to make informed decisions about energy-efficient upgrades that help them save money on their bill.

“What’s rewarding for me working on the Wattsmart Business program is to be able to learn the stories of people that we are actually helping out,” said Wilmer Cabrera, a Wattsmart Business community outreach manager with Evergreen Consulting Group. “And with every person—especially when it’s a business—there are struggles, there are challenges and it’s nice to know that we can help their business or facility.”

By working with individual businesses and organizations one-on-one, like the First Wesleyan Church of Tonga in Utah, Rocky Mountain Power’s programs deliver a personalized experience to help each business reduce costs. When many businesses participate it helps Rocky Mountain Power keep electric prices in Utah among the lowest in the nation.

Jennifer Rosenthal is a passionate energy efficiency program manager for Rocky Mountain Power’s Wattsmart Business Program. She has over 15 years of energy efficiency experience leading teams, projects and programs for utility energy programs across the country.