Few things can kill a worship service like poor climate control. Complicating this is that seemingly many deacons (and pastors) wrongly believe they understand climate control.
Climate Control 101
The first mistake that many make is thinking that the church's climate control works like their car's climate control system: the colder you set it, the colder the air blows.
For your information, a car's system is very different than your church's system. In your car, you can pick the temperature you want blowing out of its vents. In contrast, only one temperature comes out the vents of your church--usually between 55-65 degrees for A/C. So if you want your church to be 72 degrees, the A/C will simply blow 60-degree air until the temperature reaches 72 degrees, and then it will shut off. So it is impossible to cool down or heat up your church faster by setting the thermostat at its lowest or highest point.
Climate Control 201
Two other climate control areas most miss:
One is the ideal room temperature: Which is likely an impossible goal with a room of people who have a wide range of preferences. In times past, many office managers considered 68 degrees to be the ideal with a workforce of men wearing three-piece suits. However, not only do few men wear 3-piece suits to church, but that temperature tends to freeze women wearing short sleeves in the summer. The more modern ideal seems closer to 72 degrees.
The other is the importance of air circulation: A common mistake that I've seen countless deacons make is forgetting that temperature isn't the only factor to climate control in a church – especially in the winter. Even if the temperature is “good,” it is important to turn the fan to "on" to keep the air circulating, since air can get stale very quickly. In more moderate climates like California where I live, it is a rare Sabbath that we don't need to turn the A/C on, even in the winter once the church heats up. Set the thermostat at a "don't go above temperature" of 72 degrees--possibly cooler in the winter to avoid creating a "sauna" climate with a bunch of bodies at nearly 100 degrees further heating up your church. More sparsely attended churches may not have as big a challenge here.
Climate Control 301
Another mistake many make is failing to plan ahead for extreme temperature Sabbaths. Waiting until 9 am on a really hot or cold Sabbath to turn your system on is probably too late. Depending on your system, it may need to be turned on the night before.
Climate Control Bonus
The last mistake is using the church windows for climate control. Unless your church has no A/C, the windows are the worst solution you have. Either the people by the windows will freeze, while the people on the aisle will be fine, OR the people by the windows will be comfortable, and the people on the aisle will feel stifled.
Jim Lorenz is ministerial director for the Northern California Conference