The Samaritan Center was Awarded for the 2022 Battle of the Buildings Competition in the Other Category

The Samaritan Center originally opened in 1983 as the Sisters of Mercy Hospital operated by Trinity Health Systems and has served as a healthcare resource in Detroit for 18 years. In 2001, Trinity Health donated the facility to SER Metro-Detroit and Holy Cross Children’s Services. The Samaritan Center is home to over 80 partners who provide services and support to one of Detroit’s most under-served communities and attracts upwards of 90,000 unique

Samaritan Center Front

visitors annually; along with being home to many small businesses and entrepreneurial companies. Additionally, the Samaritan Center now houses a seniors’ assisted living facility and a behavioral services hospital, both of which operate 24 hours per day. The Mission Statement of the Samaritan Center is providing access to businesses and community services that build a strong and vibrant future for the Detroit community.

Beanstalk Real Estate Solutions became the professional property management team in 2020 for the 444,475 square foot facility. In 2019 the facility was still being maintained and operated as the former hospital, with energy usage being up to fivefold the normal consumption of a standard office building. One of the first areas for change was targeting the equipment that was running 24 hours per day. The information was compiled into EnergyStar to assess baseline energy usage. It was evident an energy management system was necessary, and the management team had to reexamine the operation of the building in its amended role as an office building. Using the existing Building Automation System to schedule equipment to operate only during normal business hours, successfully reduced energy usage by 29% between 2020 and 2021.. The Samaritan Center has been back to full operations through 2021 (while the daily population decreased briefly in 2020 the building was still fully operational), yet even following some setbacks have increased occupancy by a small percentage. Additionally, 38% of the building is active 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. 

Savings between 2021 to 2022 can be attributed primarily to the following factors:

  • Conversion of over 3,000 fluorescent light tubes to energy-efficient LED tubes, with a “lights out” policy after normal business hours in unoccupied spaces
  • Removing one of the three boilers offline that was not required to maintain load and was redundant.
  • Adjustment in hours of equipment operation to night mode at 6 P.M. Mondays through Fridays (previously set for 8 P.M.), with exception of areas working 24/7.
  • Repairs and adjustments to dampers and actuators throughout to improve operational efficiency.
Samaritan Center Flyover

The Samaritan Center through Beanstalk Real Estate Solutions has been engaged with Bali Kumar from PACE Loan Group, Lean & Green Michigan, and Robert Mattler developing a PACE financial package since the end of 2021. PACE had previously not been available as an option for Non-Profit organizations such as the Samaritan Center so they jumped at the opportunity when it became available. Much of the existing equipment at the Samaritan Center is original. An extensive energy audit was performed by Green Energy who analyzed all equipment and lighting and studied the usage, plus factored in other components such as the building shell. Green Energy, with the assistance of various contractors, looked at

all critical equipment and determined, based on operations, modern replacements which were energy efficient and calculated project budget costs. Energy savings were determined, with the estimated return of investment (which must be realized within the 20-year term of the project financing). A Phase 1 environmental study was performed, together with a new appraisal of the building. While financing terms were being negotiated, the project work was bid out to capable contractors with conditions they be Detroit based and women or minority owned. They are now in the final stages. The PACE project will involve $3.54M in financing to replace the equipment mentioned, and it is believed that upon closing they may be the largest Non-Profit to secure PACE financing in Michigan to date.

Currently, the Samaritan Center has been working with Energy Sciences through the DTE Energy Efficiency Program for Businesses, who are evaluating their energy usage as part of obtaining a grant which will allow them to repair components such as dampers on the air handling units for greater control and efficiency. Additional future plans include working on a proposal for installing arrays of solar panels throughout the campus which should provide approximately 17% of their actual electrical usage. The installation is estimated to be completed by early next year. They are also in the beginning stages of exploring the retention and re-use of their storm water runoff rather than having it go into the sewer system; there is the potential for not only irrigation, but the filtered storm water could also be used to fill their cooling towers.

We were excited to celebrate the Samaritan Center’s accomplishments in energy efficiency at our annual Michigan Energy Summit on April 18, 2023 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where they  were awarded in the Other Category!