Foundations of a Worship Space: Lights Need Power

The Bargeheights crew has been hard at work in meetings and pounding out drawing packages for a slew of church worship space renovations. In project meetings, we’ve observed some major disconnects between descriptive ministry vision statements and the nuts-and-bolts foundation required to bring a production system to life. It appears that many production-minded folks are stuck navigating in the void between expectations and resources. It’s by no fault of the any churches’ leadership. Their vision is great! However, without the experience and knowledge of a qualified designer, costs, timelines and trade coordination to lay the foundation for a vision-filled worship spaces falls to the side.  So, we’ve decided to dedicate a regular blog topic to highlighting some of our thoughts on the foundational elements for worship spaces.

Almost every church I talk with wants stage lighting, from color mixing RGB LEDs to moving lights. To connect with culture, many churches are casting big vision about impressive live worship experiences and define, in clear statements, that lighting design is critical to their relevant worship experience. This is awesome!

Regardless of the worship space – old buildings, renovations, new ground up construction – one fact is true: Lights need Power

LED lighting fixtures, like Bargeheights LED 36 and BAR 252 are perfect examples of low-energy consumption luminaries. There’s even a new wave of very efficient moving head fixtures, like Bargeheights’ MH LED wash. Yes, all of these lights, and more produce crazy amounts of output for a small power draw. But, they still take power. All lights require POWER!

Budgeting for twenty moving lights is awesome and without question is an amazing set of tools to provide to a church lighting designer. However, without an infrastructure of power circuits, the church’s lighting designer will only be able to turn on just a few fixtures.

Power infrastructure is usually a fairly small expense in the big picture of a church worship space renovation or new construction design/build. Sadly, in our experience, it’s the most under valued and frankly the largest oversight in church audio/video/lighting (AVL) design. Power circuits can be integrated into a room and distributed through well documented and labeled receptacles or provided as a single large capacity power source, (called a “company switch”) which provides a great deal of power to energize portable distribution panel and rugged touring grade cable for more flexibility. Communicating these requirements to other trades, the electrical contractor, in particular is critical  Without details of AVL power requirements, an electrical contractors cost estimates within a design/build project will be grossly inaccurate. Further, it’s often the AVL designer that is “blamed” for this financial oversight, further compounding the perceived cost of AVL systems.

lighting power drawing

lighting design drawing example

Before you purchase a roadcase full of new lighting gear, or sign off on a five or six digit lighting system, make sure there are plenty of power circuits. While you’re at it, why stop at just the bare minimum number of circuits, add an extra 20% to cover new equipment or rented gear for special events down the road.

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