We recognise that we are forging a new path with The Samaritan Project. No other non-profit in Canada has done what we are about to do and you will be hard-pressed to find a building equal to this one in use and function – built by a non-profit in North America! This will be the first commercial building in Regina to be built using passive building methodologies. When we started this journey over four years ago and we determined that we needed to replace our ageing soup kitchen we immediately wanted to approach it from an environmental point of view.
We have done a tremendous amount of research to get to where we are today and it was about a year and a half ago that we determined to make this a passive build. We couldn’t deny the outcomes – a building that operated around the 60% more efficient mark than a conventional build, that was easy to maintain and had minimal ongoing operational / maintenance costs over the long run. The only hurdle we had was that no-one had done this before in Regina and our research was telling us that to construct a passive building there would be anywhere from a 5-10% premium cost. In other words it would cost 5-10% more to construct.
We made a business case based on our return on investment over the long term and it was enough to steer our team down this path. However, a lot has been learned in the last year and a half and we made a deliberate act to bring on a nationally known passive expert who is also a mechanical engineer. Our design team have been learning a lot – and our construction team have been hitting the books so to speak to learn how to do such a build. The result? Well we just got back an updated budget – and the findings are incredible: We are going to be able to construct this building for LESS THAN a conventional build.
This is simply incredible! A standard or conventional build – the same types of buildings that you can see going up all around you are costing MORE than it will cost us to build our passive building – a building that with our energy modelling now complete will be running at an impressive 80% efficiency. This means that not only will our building cost less to build but it will cost 80% less to operate then those other buildings. That is your donor dollars at work and that is great stewardship!