Clean50 awards highlight Canada’s best sustainable builders

Besides working in development, what do EllisDon Corporation, Sun Life Financial, Cadillac Fairview and Reid’s Heritage Homes all have in common?

Clean 50They’ve all landed on the 2017 Clean50 list, which is designed to identify and recognize the 50 individuals or small teams who have made the greatest contribution to sustainable development or clean capitalism in Canada.

Toronto-based Delta Management Group founded the Clean50 awards and works with a series of judges to select the honourees. Delta is a search firm specializing in high tech, clean tech, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility practices.

In addition to building, awards are given out in multiple categories, including cities, clean technology, financial and service organizations, and renewable energy.

Gavin Pitchford, chief talent officer of Delta Management, founded the Clean50 in 2011. He said at the time his perception was a lot of business people were beginning to talk about sustainability, but not connecting outside of their usual silos.

“My thought at the time was we were going to need solutions from right across the board, everybody was going to have to buy into them, and the conversation wasn’t happening.”

“A world first”

Pitchford recalls that at the time no one knew who Delta Management was; “so we discovered the fastest way to motivate people to come together was to give them an award.”

At the time, someone from the United Nations education program was at the first session and he told Pitchford that he travels 300 different places a year around the world for the UN and that the Clean50 was totally unique for looking a sustainability leaders from so many different categories.

“So a world first,” Pitchford says.

In the realm of building over the last five years the biggest changes include the move toward net zero becoming a reality, and the incorporation of sustainable design from the outset in buldings.

“The adaptation of LEED has gone up substantially in that period of time,” Pitchford notes.

Andrew Bowerbank, the global director of sustainable building services, for EllisDon Corporation, made the Clean50’s list of top sustainable development professionals known as the Clean16.

Bowerbank is honoured for his working in bringing together an industry-led partnership called the Carbon Impact Initiative. That was formed in support of Canada’s COP21 commitments and in February 2016, Bowerbank brought together 70 senior executives to discuss how a number of Canadian industries could work with regulators to transform the market into a low-carbon economies.

Along with six key partners, Bowerbank then developed an industry response strategy focused on net-zero buildings, carbon accounting for buildings, the adaption of clean technology and incentives for low carbon building.

T.D. Centre’s Leed Platinum certification draws an award

The jury noted Philip Gillen’s strategy of owning real estate assets with a sustainable footprint. Gillen is the senior managing director and portfolio manager of Canadian property investments for Sun Life Financial.

Sun Life has more than 100 buildings in its Canadian real estate portfolio that have either LEED or BOMA BESt certification or both. As well, market-based greenhouse gas emissions intensity of the portfolio decreased by 11 per cent from 2011 to 2015. Gille also chairs Sun Life Financial’s International Sustainability Council.

Cadillac Fairview landed on the list of the Clean50’s Top 15 projects for pursing LEED Platinum certification for the Toronto Dominion Centre, six skyscrapers spread over six acres.

Net-zero homes attract jury’s attention

The project cut energy use by 30 per cent, water use by 40 per cent annually, and raised waste diversion to 81 per cent for a total reduction in carbon emissions by 28 per cent. The centre also put in place sub-metering on each floor, green committees, and reporting on air quality, and bike parking and repair clinics.

Cambridge, Ontario builder, Reid’s Heritage Homes, landed on the same list for building five net-zero homes that dropped energy consumption by 80 per cent with solar panels accounting for the remaining 20 per cent.

Other award winners Candice Luck, director of strategy and programs at buildAbility Corporation, who persuaded a team of builders and consultants to take part in the construction of 26 net zero homes across Canada; and Jeanne Medland, the director of sustainability at KingSett Capital.

KingSett has experienced a year-to-date energy reduction of 15 per cent, a 24 per cent decrease in water use, and increased waste diversion rates of 7.5 per cent across its portfolio. The company also achieved a GRESB Green Star ranking, published two corporate annual sustainability reports and increased green building certifications within its portfolio by over 30 per cent.


A multiple award-winning reporter, writer and editor for more than 25 years, Charles Mandel most recently worked as the National Observer's climate change reporter. He is a former Atlantic correspondent…

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A multiple award-winning reporter, writer and editor for more than 25 years, Charles Mandel most recently worked as the National Observer's climate change reporter. He is a former Atlantic correspondent…

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