Over the past several weeks we have shared some of the interesting current trends in church design and construction from a recent i3 webinar.

The webinar covered many more trends (which is why we always suggest signing up for our webinar series), but there are still two we want to share before concluding this series: One is a common trend that impacts all areas of a church building; the other is commonly requested but seldom included in completed church buildings—for reasons that we will explain.

Keeping Your Church Building Secure

The first trend is a desire to integrate more security features into today’s church designs. This has become increasingly common and reflects the unfortunate realities in America today. Church leaders want to do all they can to protect young and old, guests and members, as they worship and learn.

The highest priority usually involves children’s areas. The chance that you have a parent in a custody battle come try and take a child they don’t have custody over is the most common risk a church will face.  Check-in counters are common, along with hard barriers and one-way glass in classroom windows so parents and staff can see what is happening in any room.

We are also now installing areas of protection, similar to those used in public buildings, though on a smaller scale. This includes volunteers at check-in desks and lock-down doors behind the check-in area. Even classroom doors can be designed with security in mind, as another layer of defense.

Other areas of church buildings are receiving security upgrades. We are installing more cameras, for example, along with a central control room for monitoring, usually by dedicated staff during the week and by volunteers on weekends. Cameras can be a deterrent for someone who sees them, however a camera mainly shows you what happened more so than keeping someone out.

Office areas are getting upgraded with emergency exits, and we are even beginning to install safe rooms in some churches. Safe rooms are hardened enclosures inside a church building where people can lock themselves inside during an emergency until help can arrive. In addition, some church designs are now including medical rooms, placed close to both public spaces and an exterior door for easy access to an ambulance.

Requesting Green Church Design Options

The other trend we’re seeing is more church leaders requesting green design options for their church building. Sometimes this is driven by a desire for energy efficiency, other times it’s due to environmental sensitivity. We receive requests most frequently for upgrades in heating and cooling systems, and insulation. Sometimes church leaders are also interested in geothermal HVAC systems or efficient solar power lighting.

The issue with each of these options is that they require a significant up-front investment. While increases in energy efficiency for factories or office buildings may pay that off in five or ten years, it would take 15 to 20 years for a church to get paid back because the hours of operation are much different. Churches usually find that their budget just won’t allow for that initial investment on top of the primary expenses involved with purchasing new property, constructing a new church building, and relocating from their previous location.

Think of it this way: When you’re planning a church building from scratch and have the option of either installing geothermal heat or having an extra 200 seats in the auditorium, the extra seats usually win out. As a result, while green design solutions may be frequently requested, they’re not commonly implemented in the final church design.

There are many products that are environmentally friendly, that are affordable, and that are used every day in church buildings. The most common are siding, flooring, and even some light fixtures and HVAC controls.

Learning More: A Trend That Never Goes Out of Style

We hope this series of church building trends has been helpful. Our goal with these posts, and with our free i3 webinars, is to provide valuable information for your own church renovation and construction projects.

We encourage you to register today for our upcoming free webinars—just visit our home page to sign up. And don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-625-6448 with any questions you may have.