Building a Sustainable Church

God shaped the world so that natural systems render no waste. One organism’s waste is another organism’s food – this is the mystery that we, humans, have yet to crack – a simple yet beautiful order to all things that has allowed us to thrive as a species before time was even a thought.

Though through time we have slowly moved away from this sustainable model of life. That doesn’t mean it is too late to turn things around. In fact, it is our duty now, more than ever, to preserve the divine order of all things that God willingly put in our hands. 

Sustainable Churches? Absolutely. 

What better way to foster the preservation of God’s creations than by building a sustainable place of worship? Here are a couple of ideas to spark something great (and more importantly green) when planning your next project:

Setting matters.

Designing for place is very important when thinking about building a church (or any structure for that matter). Not only does it take environmental, societal, and economic aspects into account, but it also helps free up common roadblocks such as lack of access to local building materials, lack of community engagement, and lack of local economic enrichment.  Choosing the right setting for your project can go a long way toward helping the environment as local materials and labor supports the surrounding economy while mitigating the need for excess resources to be exhausted. 

Mimicking Nature.

This process, also known as biomimicry, can minimize costs and boost efficiency. For example, just as butterflies utilize nano-sized scales to repel dirt and stay clean, building exteriors can be coated with a protective layer that reduces the need for maintenance and extra spending.  Another common example of biomimicry is solar panel technology that converts solar energy into usable energy – the same way that plants utilize photosynthesis to covert the power of the sun into chemical energy. Not only is this type of energy clean and green, but it is also cost-efficient in the long run. 

Passive Design.

By reducing or removing the need for simulated climatic systems such as air conditioning, heating, lighting, etc., this type of design model is the textbook example of sustainability.  Examples of this include harnessing prevailing winds in a way that cools the interior of a structure, integrating natural desiccants to remove humidity, building acoustically efficient spaces to reduce/remove the need for speakers and other electronics, and incorporating vegetative roofing to deflect heat in the summer and retain warm air in the winter.  All of these design elements can work to reduce overall costs and minimize your Church’s carbon footprint.

Take a Stand.

Buildings have been telling God’s stories for thousands of years.  Now, it is our job to preserve the world that God gave to us by incorporating the organic processes that we were created from into the things that we create with our own hands.  By building a church in accordance to the diverse, natural systems that show the balance between life, death, and growth, congregants are more likely to take these practices home with them and realize how invaluable they are to the future of our planet. 

Building a Church: Why Design Matters

A church is more than four walls and a roof. When you enter a church, you should feel something. Something that transcends normalcy. Something that makes you feel closer to heaven. But how is this possible? How can a building have such a profound influence on our faith?

The answer is simple: God is in the details. In the design to be exact. A church’s design elements—from exterior to interior—play a vital role in its ability to attract and retain congregants.

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Top 3 Reasons Why Construction Projects Fail & The Steps You Can Take to Avoid Them

Construction hats sitting on a work site.

Construction projects fail for a variety of reasons, but more often than not complications can be avoided with proper planning, resources, and the right personnel in place!

Vanman has a 98.8% completion rate for all of our bank, school and church construction projects. In every project, we work to avoid the main issues that cause construction projects to stray from both timeline and budget.

Discover the top 3 causes of construction project failure and their solutions below.

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3 Modern Bank Interior Design Features Your Branch Needs

Two coworkers meeting outside a coffee shop

Modern banks are getting a face lift with added interior design features to improve the overall customer branch experience. Upgrading the in-store banking experience can help increase foot traffic and customer satisfaction.

Take Capital One, a once digital-only bank, for example. They did what no one predicted by opening the Capital One Café, a coffee shop plus bank. The premise? To provide a space where their customers have options to explore their finances or just grab a coffee and go about their daily routine. Despite initial industry skepticism, this out-of-the-box idea is proving to be quite successful.

Learn how your branch can hop on this trend and why adding modern interior design elements is the key.

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Fundraising for Church Construction: Small Congregations

Any architectural project can require time and resources that often seem out of reach for congregations, especially ones that are small. If you’ve decided to begin a new church construction or remodel, one of the first steps that you should take is deciding on where you’re going to get the funds to finance such a large undertaking. Fundraising is one of the best places to start because it allows the community to have a sense of ownership and accountability for their worship space.

If you’re planning your fundraising activities, here are a few ideas to get you started:
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Three Things to Think about Before Hiring Your Church Remodeling Contractor

When you’re ready to begin your church remodel, you’ll need to find a church remodeling contractor that is willing to meet you where you are in the process of your project. Contractors have to work with you and with the company that you hire to design the building in order to complete the project as intended. When you’re looking for a church remodeling contractor, here are a few tips to think about before signing the contract:
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When Do I Need to Hire a Renovation Architect?

It can be tempting to save money on your home remodel by not using the advice of a professional, such as an architect. Anytime that your remodel requires disturbing the interior or exterior structure of your home, an architect can help assure that the structural integrity remains and that the design aspect of the remodel is aesthetically compliant with the rest of your home.
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5 Features of Church Architecture

Just as all things, church architecture has made some big leaps throughout the centuries. Some things, though, remain classic in both their function and their design. When you’re discussing your church design ideas with your design-build firm, it’s up to you and your church to decide how these 5 areas will function and look in your new building:
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Finding the Perfect Church Construction Company

When setting up a new church construction project, one does well to remember that this new place of worship is more than a building. It represents the community, the religious group that it houses, and the hard work that went into its creation. When choosing your church construction company, you want someone who understands all of the beautiful facets of constructing a church. You want someone with experience, someone who is obsessed with giving your exactly what you and your fellowship wants, on time and on budget.

One of the ways that we accomplish that is through our design-build process. By creating a streamlined flow of work, project owners only have to worry about one contract. The design-build team collaborates, working together to make every decision, which leaves less room for mistakes and disagreements.  Even more exciting is that going through the design-build process, as opposed to the more traditional process, can mean that you save money. According to the Design-Build Institute of America, unit cost is 6.1% less and construction speed is 12% faster. That means that your congregation is back in your building faster than they would be if you chose to hire both a design team and a build team.
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The Benefits of the Design-Build Approach

In our past blog posts, we’ve often touched on all of the benefits of the design-build model of church architecture. Vanman Architects and Builders uses this approach exclusively, because we’re sure that it is the best, most efficient way to create beautiful centers of worship. If you’re thinking about beginning a church construction contact, here’s why a design-build approach is a great option:
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