Stay Cool & Warm at First Church

07.19.23 | News

    Heating and Air conditioning installation update
    November 16, 2023

    We know with the changing of the season from summer to fall and soon to winter many of you are wondering what’s up with our heating and air conditioning system installation? Have you noticed some changes taking place in the sanctuary?  The back rows of pews in the East and West transepts have been removed as well as the radiators and storage cabinets in the chancel area behind the choir.  You may also notice some clamp holders on the outside of the roof of the sanctuary.   And if you wandered downstairs and got lost at the end of the hall in an empty dark room; well that’s where old boiler used to be!  It has been removed! More storage space!

    All of this is preparation work to install our new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. So, work has begun and will pick up in the coming two months!

    Because this is such an important project and large investment in our future, it is important that we coordinate this work with the holiday activities. The Board has asked Phil Jeter, who assisted in selecting the vendor, Brian Cox Mechanical (BCM), to act as the project manager on behalf of the church. Phil will be in constant contact with BCM to ensure that prep work is done to keep the project on schedule, and is coordinated with our staff and the CREW. He will also help ensure that work does not conflict with our scheduled holiday events.

    So, when will the project be completed? When will we feel the heat?  Unfortunately the schedule has the system fully installed and working by the end of January. So, our staff will work to have some space heaters in the church and of course like last year, blankets. Also, please dress warmly. We ask for your patience and understanding in the meantime.  

    Note: at a later date, before on site work begins, we will provide an update on our solar project.

    Nick Hubsmith,


    ---------------------------UPDATE AUGUST 2023---------------------------

    The Board of Trustees Selects a Vendor for the Installation  of New Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) System 

    On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to announce we have approved a bid from Brian Cox Mechanical (BCM) to replace our Sanctuary heating system and for the first time, we will add air conditioning with the new system. In the bid process, we interviewed three vendors. There are a lot of details in these proposals and BCM provided the best overall solution to three primary requirements:  

    • The system had to be scalable, have enough capacity to heat and cool the entire Sanctuary 
    • The new system had to honor with as little impact as possible the original architectural design of the exterior and interior of the Sanctuary 
    • Cost per tonnage of heating and capacity had to be cost effective. Tonnage is a measure of the amount of heat that can be removed or added to a room by a HVAC system. 

    BCM provided the lowest cost per tonnage and displayed the highest level of experience and technical expertise. It will require some changes inside and outside the church to install the system components. The old system was a radiant floor system that pumped heated water from a boiler through tubing laid in a pattern under the sanctuary floor. For this reason, the system was not visible to parishioners. The problem with the existing system was that parts were difficult to obtain and the piping in the floor was not accessible to be repaired. The new system will install whisper quiet air handlers (enclosed fans) inside the Sanctuary at specific locations without the ducting which is found in traditional HVAC systems. The heat pumps will be located outside the sanctuary’s southeast and southwest corners. The outside heat pumps contain compressors that circulate refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat as it travels between the indoor and outdoor units. 

    The installation timeline from signing the contract to completion is expected to be 12 weeks.  This schedule will enable heating capacities for our Christmas season and cooling for next summer. 

    All of this is possible through the wishes and a financial gift from the estate of our dear friend John Hermann.  His dream was to see a fuller Sanctuary and John believed that summer air conditioning was an important piece of our hospitality as a congregation.  He left specific instructions that part of his most generous estate gift be used to pay for sanctuary air conditioning and to offset some of the energy costs associated with running the new system.   

    The BOT will publish periodic updates on our progress with this project and the solar panel installation.   

    Nick Hubsmith, Chair, Board of Trustees