The Salvation Army wanted to build a net-zero 175-unit supportive housing complex in Edmonton, Alberta, but the consultants told them it was too expensive. Determined, Salvation Army architect Michaela Jones redesigned the project as a net-zero-ready building just before awarding tenders for regular construction.

“We did a redesign. Just as we were going out to tender,” says Jones.

What happened next surprised her.

“The tender amounts came in within a percentage of our original estimate, and that is with ground source heating, solar panels, and all of our building envelope upgrades.”

The project will save Sally Anne $240,000 per year on utilities and pay for itself in just four years.

“This project is a precedent for the Salvation Army. So we’ve done it, now we can do it again,” says Jones.

This is indeed a model for anyone building mid-sized apartments, offices or institutional buildings.

David Dodge
David is an environmental journalist and a photojournalist and the host and producer of who He has worked for newspapers, published magazines, produced radio, and was the production manager for a Canadian nature publisher. He produced more than 350 award-winning EcoFile radio programs on sustainability for the CKUA Radio network.

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