The process of building a church requires many decisions and considerations, not the least of which is how to make the project sustainable in the long run. Sustainability and energy efficiency in church buildings begins at the earliest stages of construction, and it is important for congregations and building committees to make them a priority.
When building a new church or ministry project, Christians have a responsibility to exercise good stewardship over the resources involved. There is a God-given responsibility to take care of the earth, reducing pollution, protecting ecosystems, and conserving resources for future generations. Prioritizing energy efficiency in church buildings also has the added benefit of reducing long-term maintenance & operation expenses.
LEED certification is a recognition of sustainability achievement in construction. Globally-recognized, the program awards points based on a project’s actions to address energy, carbon, water, materials, health, transportation, waste, and indoor environmental quality. Projects are verified individually, and corresponding merit awards are given for all aspects of the project: design, construction, maintenance, and operation.
Unfortunately, enrolling in the LEED program can be cost-prohibitive for many non-profits, despite its benefits for monitoring how owners and operators use resources efficiently. However, even without the resources to attain LEED certification, ministries and non-profits have quite a few strategies at their disposal to reduce life cycle costs and lower their impact on the environment.
Off to a Good Start: Emphasizing Energy Efficiency in Church Buildings From the Beginning
Sustainability and energy efficiency in church buildings begins with the way a church or other ministry building is built. With a plan that emphasizes energy efficiency and sustainable practices, building committees can optimize their resources and set themselves up for success moving forward. Good foresight can help ministries make sustainable design decisions to benefit the environment and facilitate favorable economic return.
Addressing energy efficiency in church buildings begins with the most fundamental building blocks of the project. The materials used in your construction can set your building up for sustainability success right off the bat. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Flooring or wall materials made from recycled or recyclable materials
- Energy-efficient insulation
- Low-E glass windows that reflect heat
- Light-colored (and thus highly-reflective) roofing materials
- Low-maintenance roofing and flooring
By using the right materials, you can make energy efficiency easier to accomplish with minimal trouble.
In a similar vein to the right materials, you can help your construction project naturally tend toward efficiency by installing appliances that are designed to be sustainable. Innovative products can also extend the life of your building and facilitate ongoing savings. As you build, look for faucets, toilets, refrigerators, and HVAC systems that will make your building more efficient.
Low-flow toilets can reduce water usage up to 60%, and you can experience tremendous savings by considering carefully the kind of unit that will manage the building’s heating and air conditioning. Most modern appliances are geared toward saving energy, water, and money, meaning that they yield the lowest long-term life-cycle costs. Sometimes they also present the best savings at the onset.
Heat transfer through walls, windows, and roofs is one of the most important considerations for achieving energy efficiency in church buildings. Warmth can be lost to a colder exterior if insulation practices are not up to snuff, and in the summer solar radiation goes head-to-head with a building’s air conditioner, fighting for dominance.
Much can be done to aid in a building’s thermal regulation even before ground is broken. It begins with building orientation and envelope. In order to build sustainably, building committees should identify the best orientation on the site for their building. This involves mapping out the progress of the sun and determining the best location for optimizing sun exposure, taking both summer and winter into account relative to the climate of your location.
A building’s envelope describes the primary thermal barrier between interior and exterior environments. It includes the foundation, walls, roof, and windows. An efficient building envelope will reduce excessive heat transfer, avoiding west-facing glass as possible and placing windows, doors, and skylights strategically.
Wise orientation and envelope decisions made in the design process can dramatically reduce solar heat load in practice. This will put less strain on HVAC systems when they are installed, extending their longevity and increasing their profitability and efficiency.
Sustainable Building with Building God’s Way
At Building God’s Way, we have a kingdom-minded approach to sustainability on ministry-based building projects called Green Stewardship. It emphasizes attainable sustainability strategies for ministries to incorporate into their building projects. In doing so, you can glorify God through careful stewardship of what He has given us to protect.
The architect. Someone who has an eye for the finer details, steady hands, and is a master of design. The life of an architect is not just about designing a building, but the benefits do outweigh the stress and long nights. An architect’s typical day is apprehending the time you can work, draft, draw, and meet deadlines. Sometimes you’ll work on more than one project a day, which means bigger responsibilities.
During the Day
Much of the day’s work is done on a computer. Whether drawing or emailing with clients and consultants, you use many tools to develop the design, construction documents, revising the model, and reviewing structural models for coordination. You also are building and designing 3D models and preparing drawings to communicate your design solutions to the clients.
There will be problems
A month to finish a specific project sometimes isn’t enough. Time management is an essential skill if you want to be successful as an architect. There shouldn’t be a day that goes by that you accomplish nothing, especially when projects are more complex. As your project progresses and moves on to the next phase, you’ll eventually have to attend site coordination meetings and discuss the problems that arise and create solutions. Sometimes higher ups will come with you, but most of the time you will be the one to present the answer to questions that need urgent decisions. Problems will arise, but the most important role of the architect is becoming part of the solution without sacrificing and affecting the structure’s functionality.
So, as an architect, you must not only consider the physical appearance of your project, but also the interior. You are the architect, the master of design, so every decision you make must be well thought out. Some people get buried in details that aren’t necessarily relevant to the bigger picture, so you need to be thinking about the overall view of your structure and what works best for the business. Also being cost efficient in the early stages of design, helps transform the job site by reducing conflict, scheduling delays, and changing orders.
It is immensely satisfying
Being an architect is a lot to handle, but the satisfactions are worth it. Witnessing the project you worked so hard on for months, sometimes even years, coming to life is a very fulfilling part. Working with like-minded professionals, being around others that are passionate about the same thing as you makes everything more exciting. It is a continuing learning experience as no one can perfect architecture, but with it we can make the world a better place.
At BGW, we believe that our process sets us apart. We are dedicated to providing you with the best possible construction services to meet all of your church construction needs. Our process has been fine-tuned to ensure that your construction project is customized to meet your specific needs. Here are a few beneficial things to understand about our specific process and what you can expect when you work with us.
Phase 1: The Preliminary Design Phase
Design is an incredibly important part of ensuring your project is completed successfully. When we implement phase 1, a collaborative approach will be taken to ensure that your vision can be made into a reality. This phase takes place over 3 days and occurs at the ministry site. During this phase, we create site plans, floor plans, exterior renderings, and elevations. This will help to outline your vision and ensure it is executed in the best possible manner.
Phase 2: The Project Positioning Phase
After the preliminary design, we move into the project positioning phase. The purpose of this phase is to bridge the gap between preliminary design and construction documents. The exact specifications of this phase will depend on the particular project. It may include planning department approvals, the coordination of civil engineering survey, feasibility studies, fundraising, zoning, A/V/L design planning, and planning department approvals. Our experts will help to guide you through this process and set your project up for success. We can also help you to connect with valuable resources to meet the needs of your project.
Phase 3: The Construction Documents Phase
There is an array of construction documents that will be necessary to complete your project. These documents will be compiled during the third phase of your project. These documents are generally used for bidding and permitting. They will include mechanical, electrical, plumbing, architectural, and structural drawings. This phase also tends to include coordination with Civil and AVL. These documents will be extremely detailed and will include everything from duct configuration to the exact type of door hardware that will be used.
Phase 4: The Permitting and Pre-Construction Phase
Various permit approval will be necessary to get your construction project rolling. During this phase, we work along with local jurisdictions to coordinate this approval. We will also finalize a guaranteed maximum price for your project. During this phase, we utilize a unique process called “Pre-Construction Stewardship.” During this process, we will explore the architectural drawings along with subcontractors to get an in-depth look at the project. This will enable us to incorporate their advice and input into the final plans.
Phase 5: The Construction Phase
Finally, we’ll begin the construction phase of your project. During this process, the project architect and ministry’s representative will engage in weekly phone calls with the builder during the construction project. The project architect will also start making monthly visits to the project site. During the construction phase, we monitor the budget and implement strategies to reduce expenses as necessary.
Our team at BGW provides a streamlined, tried and tested process to provide you with the best possible construction project. When you work with our experts, these phases will be a part of your construction process. We also often implement factory-direct purchasing to minimize your expenses and ensure you can obtain the highest quality of materials for your building. To learn more about the various phases of our construction process and the church construction services that we provide, contact us at BGW today!
At BGW, we are passionate about providing you with the best quality church construction projects to meet your needs. In order to do so, we take a factory-direct purchasing approach to obtaining the materials that are necessary in the construction project. This provides many advantages to the final outcome of the project. Here are a few of the benefits of factory-direct purchasing.
Prevent Shipping Damage
When you purchase materials directly from the manufacturer, you will be able to reduce the amount of shipping that is necessary for the materials. The materials will be shipped from the manufacturer to the project site, rather than from the manufacturer to the distributor and then to the construction site. This helps to reduce the likelihood that shipping damage will occur to the materials.
When you purchase materials from a distributor rather than a manufacturer, you will also be paying for the services of the distributor. With a factory-direct purchasing approach, you cut out this expense. This helps you to substantially reduce costs that can help you to keep your construction project within its designated budget.
Miscommunication becomes much more likely when you have to communicate through multiple parties. The message can be skewed more easily the further it has to travel. By purchasing materials directly from the factory, we can ensure that we have a direct line of communication to the manufacturer. This helps us to get materials that are created specifically to meet our needs.
Higher Quality Products
When you purchase your materials directly from the factory, they will be particularly conscious about the quality of the products. This helps to ensure that you are able to obtain the right materials to meet the needs of your project. The quality of the materials will have a direct and substantial impact on the quality of the finished product.
More Control Over Outcome
When you purchase your materials directly from the factory, you gain more control over the quality and specifications of the materials. This helps you to adjust the construction project in order to meet all of your specific needs. Having more control enables you to implement the highest quality church building possible.
Through the use of factory-direct purchasing, we are able to improve the quality of your finished product while simultaneously reducing the necessary expenses. This approach helps to prevent damage and ensure you can have the best outcome to meet all of your needs. To learn more about factory-direct purchasing and the church construction services that we can provide, contact us at BGW today!
Custom church construction help to ensure the ideal building that will meet all of your needs. Our team at BGW can help you to design the perfect building through every step of your upcoming project. We offer custom church construction services to help create the ideal building to match your expectations. Here are a few of the advantages that come along with custom church construction for your intended project.
When you have custom services for your construction project, you will be able to ensure that you obtain a superior outcome. This ideal finished product will be far more valuable than a product that is of lower quality. When you have improved value for your church building, you will be able to ensure that the project comes with a higher return on investment.
By constructing your church building to meet all of your needs, you will be able to ensure that it is organized far more effectively. In fact, you will be able to build in any of the storage space that you will require. This will help you to maintain a much more comfortable environment.
Custom church construction enables you to take whatever steps you want to personalize the building. Rather than having to pay for potential remodels or decoration to personalize the building, you can ensure that it is done far more efficiently at the very beginning. This helps you to create the ideal building, while simultaneously reducing your expenses.
Each lot is likely to be slightly different. This prevents a “one size fits all” approach from effectively utilizing every lot in the same way. Custom church construction allows you to tailor your project to make the most effective use of the available lot.
Customized for your Specific Needs
The specific needs of your church building may differ depending on your own operations. Custom church construction can help to ensure that your building is created with all of these needs in mind. This ensures far more efficient operation within the building, as well.
Make a Good First Impression
The appearance of the building is often an important component for a church building. You want your church building to provide your members with a comfortable, beautiful place of worship. Custom church construction services help you to ensure that the building provides you with the beautiful appearance that you want for the building.
One key difference of working with our experts at BGW is that we are knowledgeable and experienced in providing multi-purpose, sustainable buildings. Church buildings are unique in that they tend to not be in use for the majority of the week. By creating your church building with sustainability in mind, the building can be leveraged for multiple uses. This will enable you to use the building in a sustainable manner, so that you can make optimal use of the space and offset the expenses of maintaining the building.
A comprehensive approach to your construction project ensures that the project will be completed much more efficiently. This generally enables you to save a great deal of money throughout the project. In addition to this, custom church construction prevents you from having to remodel the building in order to ensure that it meets your needs. This further helps to save you money.
Our team at BGW offers a broad range of services to meet all of the specific needs of your church construction project. We are able to provide design services, as well as aid throughout the construction process. When you work with our experts, you will be able to procure a church building that will meet all of your specific needs. For more information about the advantages of custom church construction, contact us at BGW today.