Efficiency On Steroids – Church Management (ChMS) + eSPACE

For years, the eSPACE Team has been asked “Does eSPACE integrate with our Church Management Software?”

Great question!

If you have been asking that question and want to utilize the eSPACE Event Management module or HVAC Integration, then we have good news.  For many of you, the answer is YES!

eSPACE has developed an integration of our COOLSPACE HVAC Integration (either via a Building Automation System* or WiFi Thermostats) for the following Church Management Software (ChMS) applications:

  1. Church Community Builder (CCB)
  2. ShelbyNEXT
  3. Rock RMS
  4. Ministry Platform
  5. Elexio
  6. Elexio Community
  7. FellowshipOne GO
  8. Simple Church
  9. FellowshipOne Premier/Event U (there are some specific requirements for this to function…call for details)
  10. Servant Keeper
  11. ACS (HVAC only)

*Some hardware may be required

What is even better…you don’t have to abandon your ChMS calendar as this integration can either work in the background or in the forefront…your choice.

eSPACE has developed an HVAC Integration called COOLSPACE that can integrate with many Building Automation Systems and some WiFi Thermostats.

Welcome to the future of software integration and the world of the “Internet of Things.”

With COOLSPACE/eSPACE integration, you can easily schedule all the events in your facility and know that the HVAC systems will respond to each event as they occur. Not only can you realize energy savings with improved HVAC run-times, your facility staff is able to devote more time to other needs.

For continued efficiency, integration with eSPACE allows your ChMS scheduler to still be the front end interface for your general users and staff while the Facility and Event Management Teams can utilize the robust features of eSPACE as their daily management tool. You do not have to train the majority on new systems, and your facility team can really drill down into the more detailed information and planning tools needed to intentionally manage and maintain facilities.

Do we have your attention?

You are going to want to contact us so we can share how this can help your church be more Efficient, Effective, and INTENTIONAL with the ministry tools God has entrusted to you.

Sound too good to be true?

Welcome to the future of software integration and the world of the “Internet of Things.”

Contact us for more details! 

Is Your Technology Actually Helping You Minister Better?

By: Neil Miller of KiSSFLOW

On the Monday Morning Church podcast, I speak to Executive Pastors and Church Administrators about the monumental changes in technology over the last 15 years.

It is amazing to hear how churches are using tools that few could have dreamed of earlier. Technology, like church management software, has allowed churches to scale their impact like never before.

But the same church leaders are also worried that technology is eating too much time from their staff.

Think about your own setting. How many hours a day do ministers at your church spend in front of a screen? How much of that time do they spend manually updating information, editing volunteer profiles, and transferring data from spreadsheets? How long does it take them to respond to all the emails piling up in their inbox?

When it comes to facilities, how much time is spent updating logs, checking HVAC schedules, and sorting through work orders?

Technology has given us amazing benefits, but it also demands a lot of our attention.

What if there was a way to retain all the benefits of technology, while at the same time freeing up ministers to actually have more time to spend with people?

“There’s a sweeping trend that has taken the business world by storm, and churches are smart to open their sails to it.”

Automation.

While it may sound like an imposing word that your church isn’t ready for, it’s likely exactly what you need.

With automation, a church can take a deep look at the workflows of their regular processes – both those that involve the whole congregation (e.g. communication approval, facility requests, and volunteer registration) and those focused on how the facilities run (e.g. work orders, purchase requests, and event scheduling).

By automating a workflow, you not only set up a standard way to handle the process every time, you can also eliminate manual tasks such as sending notifications, updating calendars, and transferring data.

In addition to giving pastors and ministers more time back in their schedules, automation can also:

  • Standardize your core processes to ensure consistency across campuses
  • Reduce the number of errors that happen because of manual transfers
  • Give an audit trail of every request
  • Track the current status of any item instantly

Take a standard Facility Usage Request. A manual workflow can have lots of holes in it. There could be missing critical information, the request could miss an important approval, and it could take hours to figure out the last person who acted on the request.

When you use automation tools like eSPACE and KiSSFLOW, you can set up a standard process to run with consistency and efficiency. You can even set up conditional workflow paths, requiring additional approvals for larger spaces or additional steps if the requester needs to pay for the usage.

Automation is a way to keep the massive scaling benefits of technology without having to dedicate so much time to it.

Companies around the world have already embraced automation and use it to improve their processes. Churches can do the same to reduce the administrative burden on pastors and free them up to connect with people more.

For a full overview of automation and some tips on your first steps, download the free Beginner’s Guide to Church Automation. You’ll learn how other churches are using automation and why it’s more accessible than ever before.

Neil Miller is the host of the Monday Morning Church Podcast, presented by KiSSFLOW, the church automation solution. To learn more about KiSSFLOW and see how churches are using automation, visit http://church.kissflow.com.

Church Facility Projects – Before You Move In

The facility is almost ready and it’s easy to see what the final product will look like.  As you make plans to move in and use the new building, there are several items left to manage.

1. Request the “as-built” drawings from the builder.  These are different from the initial plans the architect provided as they show exactly where the construction crew placed ducts, plumbing, electrical wiring, and more (in other words, all the supporting elements hidden behind the drywall). You’ll want these drawings in the future when you need to track down where a water leak is coming from, what electrical wires to reroute for a remodel, etc.

2. Think through what service providers you’ll use for ongoing maintenance and repair work. Who will maintain the HVAC systems? Who will handle janitorial work? Who is your preferred plumber? Which vendor will you purchase your paper products from? Create this list and keep the contact information of each vendor in a central location.

3. Interview vendors and get new or updated preventative maintenance contracts (and other contracts for cleaning services, paper products, etc.).  Preventative maintenance helps you avoid a catastrophic breakdown of any key system.  What would happen if your air conditioning stopped working during a Texas summer and you can’t get it replaced for a week?  That’s not an ideal scenario for Sunday services. Preventative maintenance contracts could include maintenance for roofing, elevators, HVAC units, commercial kitchens, fire extinguishers, and more.

4. Once you’ve selected the vendors you want to use and have contracts with them, enter that information into the system you plan to use to manage ongoing maintenance (such as eSPACE’s Work Order Management application).  The General Contractor should provide you with a list of all equipment (an owner’s manual of sorts).  You’ll need to enter that list into your maintenance system as well.

5. Other factors to consider before move-in:

  • How are we going to key the building?
  • Who will have access to those keys?
  • What security plan do we have in-place?
  • What’s our facility use policy for the new facility?
  • Do we have certain rules?
  • Will we charge for certain types of facility usage? If so, what’s the rate and criteria for usage?  You’ll need to document this information and communicate it to the church staff.
  • Inventory – Consider taking and maintaining an inventory of certain supplies.  This list may include light bulbs, paper products, HVAC filters, cleaning supplies, and others.
  • Outsource vs. handle in-house – Will we outsource janitorial or other facilities maintenance work?

6. Re-review your operational budget for the new facility and start to make “payments” for these costs (to yourself) to start to get accustomed this new spending reality.

7. From a funding perspective:

  • Keep the vision of the project alive and celebrate it.  Keep it at the forefront in the hearts and minds of your congregation.  This helps them stay enthusiastic about the project and provides a gentle reminder to keep their financial pledge.
  • Take any milestone moment that’s connected to the vision and celebrate that moment with the church.  Share why the project is mission critical to achieving that vision.

Intentional organizations plan today for tomorrow’s costs. That’s why it’s critical you establish a capital reserve account now. Download our FREE eBook to learn more.

Impacting Ministry via the Thermostats

By Colby May, Certified Energy Manager and Mission Pastor of Lit – Energy Management Empowering Change.

QUESTION. What is the biggest factor on a building’s energy use? Is it the HVAC, lighting, building envelope, or behavior?

If you answered behavior, you are correct. According to State of the Plate we tithed $50B in 2013. Of the $50B, $10B was spent on utilities, maintenance and operations of our buildings yet only $1B on missions.  Facility related costs, including utility spend, is typically our second largest budget item behind salaries.  But imagine, if you will, how we could impact ministry by promoting smart energy use. We need our church buildings for a number of reasons, but the way we manage our facility, maintenance and energy has been ignored in many ways.

Part of our call as God’s creation is to also be good stewards of that creation. I believe Genesis 1:1 says it all: “God created the heavens and the Earth.” If we, and all that exists, are part of God’s creation, are we to be wasteful with that which God created? Throughout the Bible, we are called to be good stewards. In Greek, stewardship, or oikonomia, is the same word used to define management and administration. We are called to be managers or stewards of what has been entrusted to us.

On average (and this average changes based on building location, equipment and behavior) 50% of our electric use is typically our HVAC system, 30% is our lighting system, and the remaining 20% is plug load.  We also have many influencers that impact our energy use.  The strength of our building envelope can account for 1/3 of our HVAC use.  However, the largest impact on our energy and maintenance is behavior.  According to EPA 30% of the energy we use is wasted, which means we can recapture those costs through no or low cost practices.

WIFI-enabled thermostats truly equip the facility team to make easier and centralized HVAC decisions, minimize user error, and more importantly redirect energy spend to ministry needs.

What do thermostats have to do with Ministry? Of course behavior impacts all levels of energy management, but the largest target on a typical church is the ability to control HVAC use.  Most churches we serve have conventional thermostats or programmable thermostats that rely on continued occupant adjustments, but with that comes occupant error.  Many times we will walk a facility and find thermostats locked on hold at 65° 24/7 during hot summer months.  This is a very expensive practice, but it also provides the largest opportunity.  Of course a good option is to implement a computerized energy management system that will allow a church to control use from a centralized location.  These are really good systems available on the market, however there are problems that churches need to be prepared to understand.  Costs are extremely high to install ($1-2 per square foot), the systems require extensive training, some require long-term contracts, and many times replacement parts are hard to find.

In our opinion, and typically a first recommendation for our energy audits are implementing WIFI-enabled thermostats.  WIFI-thermostats allow a church to set schedules, setpoints, zoning and more from a centralized web-based location at a 10th of the cost. Every degree that we adjust on our thermostat equips the HVAC portion of our utility bill by 1.5%.  So an average cooling temperature of 72° verses 65° can save up to 10.5%.  Incorporating the thermostat software into church event scheduling, will go a long way into saving money.  And in our opinion the more we can save the more we can impact ministry opportunities.  WIFI-enabled thermostats truly equip the facility team to make easier and centralized HVAC decisions, minimize user error, and more importantly redirect energy spend to ministry needs.

Colby May is a Certified Energy Manager and Mission Pastor.  He formed a 501c3 called LIT that sits at the intersection of missions and energy management, where their mission is to leverage energy management and sustainable principals to impact the local church in the most vulnerable areas.  He has a degree from Gordon Conwell Seminary (Integral Missions) and has performed over 2,000 energy audits.   Colby@lit.church or www.lit.church.

 

 

Outsourcing: Do You Need a System, a Professional, Or Both?

By Bryan Miles, CEO and Co-Founder of BELAY

If there’s one constant in the world of church management, it’s that budgets are tight. In all my years of working with churches, I’ve never met a pastor who said they had all the resources they needed to fulfill their mission.

And still, congregations find a way. In fact, I don’t think there’s a field of professionals more resourceful than the ministry. Doing more with less is a minor miracle that church leaders work every single day. And although volunteers are the backbone of that miracle-working, much of a church’s heavy lifting still requires paid help.

Thankfully, the digital age is providing some new solutions for organizations that don’t have the resources to take on full-time help. And while “outsourcing” might sound like a dirty word to many people, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Nowadays, outsourcing can include enlisting the help of a management system, like eSPACE. Applications like eSPACE aren’t meant to replace ministry members. They’re tools to help your existing staff work more effectively. By leveraging these solutions, church stewards can simply make better use of the (limited) resources they currently have.

These types of platforms can be the saving grace of churches who only need to streamline and optimize their existing processes. When your team’s primary hurdle is staying organized and managing tasks, these systems can be the difference between the red and the black.

Are you losing track of routine maintenance schedules? Are you missing bill payments, or tax deadlines? Did you mistakenly double-book a conference room for an important event?

Those types of complications can be easily overcome by equipping your existing team with better tools. Some situations, however, call for more hands on deck.

It’s important to keep in mind that those systems still require oversight to make sure information is being entered in frequently and accurately. So, if your current team is too swamped to even stay on top of the systems, you’ll need to bring in outside help.

Here, too, technology is helping congregations overcome financial barriers. Businesses like BELAY are offering, contracted, virtual services that are done remotely, and can be scaled to a church’s unique budget and needs. Services like virtual personal assistants and virtual bookkeepers can help a ministry stay ahead of challenges and better serve its congregation; all without having to commit large portions of a tight budget.

These two solutions aren’t mutually exclusive, either. Online management systems, combined with live virtual support is often an ideal solution for churches with the resources (and headaches) necessary. Online platforms like eSPACE actually help remote professionals better serve their clients by organizing processes and streamlining communications.

One last thing to keep in mind is that these solutions don’t require dire straits to be worthwhile. In reality, your ministry will be better served by adopting these measures during periods of growth and plenty, rather than periods of crisis.

By doing so, you can help maintain your church’s upward trajectory, and also safeguard against future hardships. As they say, make hay while the sun is shining…

You didn’t join the ministry to worry about cash reserves and HVAC repair. But, unfortunately, those things are part of your church’s service to God and its community.

You can’t make them disappear, but you can at least make them easier.

Let me know how you outsource. You can find me on Twitter or FaceBook.

Bryan Miles is the CEO & Co-Founder of BELAY Solutions, a company whose mission is to glorify God by providing solutions that equip our clients with the confidence to climb higher. In 2010, he and his wife, Shannon Miles, formed Miles Advisory Group (MAG) to provide virtual support to busy leaders. They eventually expanded their virtual assistant model to include bookkeeping, copywriting, and web support services. In January 2017, they combined all their services under one name – BELAY. This name is significant to their leaders because of its meaning: To belay is to provide the support a climber needs to ascend…And that is precisely what they do for their clients. Bryan has a passion for coaching leaders on how to grow their business by trusting in virtual teams and enhancing company culture. 

Download our FREE Life Cycle Calculator.  Streamline your day-to-day event organization and maintenance scheduling. This great tool will take your predictive ability to the next level.

 

8 HVAC Trends for Facility Management

For most organizations, one of the most impactful aspects of their facility management and operations is their HVAC systems and the associated energy costs.  Given that, it is always a front of mind issue for facility managers, Business Administrators and other leaders. When you realize that 50-75% of an organizations utility bill is due to the HVAC system, it becomes a really important aspect to understand.

Early in my career, I had a mechanical engineer tell me that the only thing I needed to know about HVAC systems is that they “suck and blow.”  In essence, that is accurate…they suck air in through return vents and blow it back out through supply access points.  Seems pretty simple.  But technology, energy codes, environmental considerations and desire for efficiency has changed the landscape of the HVAC industry.

Below are trends that every facility owner, facility manager and organizational leader responsible for the stewarding of their facility should be aware of.

Building Code Changes – Depending on what state you are in, some of these code items are currently mandatory while in others, it is coming:

  • > Primary entrance doors to access rooms that are over 3,000 SF must have a vestibule (sanctuaries, gathering, large classrooms, etc.). Some people call this an “air/light lock”…but it is basically the requirement to have 2 sets of doors with the vestibule in between the sets of doors for any assembly space over 3,000 SF
  • > Demand control ventilation, using CO2 sensors that control and provide increase outdoor air for high occupancy spaces (i.e. worship, gathering large classrooms, etc). If you are building a new assembly space, you have to add CO2 sensors that will engage the fresh air intake portion of your system when CO2 leaves reach a certain level.

Open Protocol – The days of proprietary control systems is rapidly coming to a close thanks in part to the introduction and development of open protocol systems such as LON and BACnet:

LON – Local Operating Network – was one of the pioneers in this space, but its use is being overshadowed with the introduction and rapid adoption of BACnet

BACnet – Building Automation Control Network – has become the most popular open protocol and is widely supported by developers and ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers)

Integration – You may wonder why “Open Protocol” is a trend on this list. The reason this is so critical is due to what is called the Internet of Things (IoT). One definition is:  “The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.” Things talking to things.  In the HVAC world, it is thermostats talking to controllers and JACE’s.  It is BACnet compatible systems talking to your Event Scheduling Software. The open protocol systems allow for more freedom in developing “things” that talk to each other.  More on this another time.

Wireless – This should be surprise given all the wireless applications we use in nearly every aspect of our lives.  However…in the world of HVAC, wireless is NOT synonymous with Wi-Fi. Let me explain.

  • Wi-Fi – is a technology that allows electronic devices to connect to a wireless LAN (WLAN) network. The Wi-Fi Alliance defines Wi-Fi as any “wireless local area network” (WLAN) product based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) 802.11 standards. In short, it is what most of us use to connect to the internet when at work, home or a coffee shop.
  • ZigBee – Wireless language for device connectivity. ZigBee is an IEEE 802.15.4-based specification for a suite of high-level communication protocols used to create personal area networks with small, low-power digital radios. It Is NOT Wi-Fi.
  • BACnet systems offer wireless components that use the BACnet protocol

VRV/VRF –Variable Refrigerant Volume (Flow) – The simplest example of this technology is what most of us might refer to a “mini-split” system.  But this category of HVAC units is far more encompassing than that and it is gaining popularity and acceptance at an increasing rate. VRF is an HVAC technology invented in Japan by the Daikin company in 1982. Like ductless mini-splits VRFs use refrigerant as the cooling and heating medium. This refrigerant is conditioned by a single outdoor condensing unit, and is circulated within the building to multiple fan-coil units (FCUs). This technology is on the move and will do so for years to come.

HVAC vs. AVLA (Audio, Video, Lighting and Acoustics) – if you have a sound system, then you know that in many cases the AVLA system is the tail that wages many facility and budget decisions.  I am not being critical.  We have just come to expect a higher level of sound in our spaces than just that of a megaphone or and AM radio sounding system.  With this requirement comes several considerations in the ambient noise that can be caused by the HVAC systems.  As such, attention must be given to:

  1. Vibration of units on the roof or in close proximity
  2. Installation of isolation curbs to assist in the reduction of vibration
  3. Air velocity…which incorporates fan speeds, duct size, duct location, register locations and design/shape.
  4. Larger lined ducts
  5. How to address “haze”. If your church uses haze, then you know what I mean.  If you do not use haze, then just ignore this. The particulate size of the haze can impact the “duct sensors” in your return air vents thus making the system think there is smoke, triggering the fire alarm…OOPS!

Refrigerant is changing…AGAIN!!!Yep…that is right! Once we had R-22 Freon that was phased out (although you can still get it) and replaced with R-410A as it was better for the environment.  This is the current refrigerant…but only until 2025 when ASHRAE will introduce a new format referred to as a “2L Flammable Refrigerant” (Name TBD).  Do you ever feel like the HVAC industry has learned a lesson from the computer industry? They change to “operation system” every so often making the old systems obsolete. BROTHER!

Residential ThermostatsHow many of you have bought a Nest or other wireless stat for your home.  They are pretty cool and in some cases the will work in a small commercial setting.  But before you rush out to Lowes to get your wireless stat, here are some considerations:

  1. Multiple Stages of Heating and Cooling
  2. Size of the building
  3. Number of buildings
  4. Ability of occupants to adjust temperature
  5. Variations in weekly/annual usage
  6. Type and age of the HVAC equipment

*These are all factors that need to be considered and vetted before investing in these residential options.

These 8 trends represent areas of consideration that you, as the steward of your facilities, must become familiar with and determine the best application of them for your facility.

Facility Stewardship Binder - SmalleSpace_Logo_Md

Anyone Interested in Saving Time, Energy and Money

Saving-Time-and-Money-With-Data-1080x675

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For most churches, their greatest consumer of energy is associated with the heating and cooling of their facilities.  In fact, for most churches, 50-75% of their utility consumption is due to HVAC usage.  To further magnify this matter, space utilization can be sporadic and unpredictable in a ministry setting thus making the scheduling of the HVAC systems even more challenging.

Now, just imagine that there is a “user-friendly” room and event scheduling solution that was 100% web based and was easy to use and cost effective. In addition, what if this software solution had the capacity of interfacing with your HVAC system(s) allowing you to engage and disengage the systems based on actual usage.  Imagine not having to enter data in your room scheduling software and again in your Building Automation System (BAS) or running from thermostat to thermostat to set temperatures every day. Even better yet, imagine reducing your utility costs by 20% or more as well as saving on the wear and tear of equipment that runs when not needed…Imagine No More

Cool Solutions Group/eSPACE has developed COOL SPACE to bring these concepts to reality.  COOL SPACE provides an interface between eSPACE Event Scheduler and your HVAC systems.

CoolSpace_Logo-01

Hear are just some of the benefits of this application:

> Schedules your HVAC systems from a web based event/room scheduling software

> Provides a user-friendly, browser based user interface to allow for remote access

> Does not require changing major HVAC equipment

> Can be installed to any HVAC system that uses a JACE or that plans to transition to a JACE

> Can save energy costs and increase staff efficiency

Given the economy the past few years, we have found more organizations being intentional about reducing operational costs…and energy is a major factor.  In light of that we have seen an exponential increase in inquiries and installations of COOL SPACE just in the past 2-3 months. But don’t take our word for it…here what others are saying:

We have been using eSPACE with COOL SPACE for three years, and our church saw a 30% reduction in utility expense immediately after installation.  The interface is easy to manage, easy to teach to our staff, and we can make adjustments from anywhere.  COOL SPACE has now paid for itself several times over in return on investment as we’ve saved on electric bills and maintenance.  No more lock-boxes on thermostats, and no more forgetting to “turn the air up on the way out” after a service or event. Hank Garner, Executive Pastor, The First Family | First Baptist Church, Columbia, TN

Our church has been a client of eSPACE Event Scheduling and COOL SPACE for around 3 years. Using this cloud based software has allowed us to save around 25% on utilities and use those funds toward ministry and missions of the church to help grow the Kingdom. Very easy to use product and great customer service! Jeff McClanahan,  CPA, Living Hope Baptist Church, Bowling Green KY

Contact us today for more information…don’t forget to get your copy of the FACILITY STEWARDSHIP MANUAL!

Facility Stewardship Binder - Small