2022 Clean50 Nominee Spotlights: Building

By: Clean50 Analysts

The judging panel for this year’s Clean50 had been ripping their hair out trying to narrow down the list of exceptional Building: Design, Development & Management leaders that had submitted their responses for the 2022 Clean50 Awards. But one thing is for sure – Canada has some amazing people at the forefront of sustainable building.

We are highlighting five fantastic nominees who have submitted their responses in this category. Unfortunately, we cannot recognize all of these individuals as Clean50 honourees; however, each of the individuals mentioned below is worthy of recognition.

The Clean50 is honoured to have been able to consider so many talented Canadian leaders for a Clean50 Award this year – and below, in alphabetical order by surname, we are sharing them with you:

Deborah Byrne – COO & Director

Passive House Design – Toronto, Ontario

Deborah has instigated, collaborated, and overseen the design development of over 1,000,000 sqft of Passive House Design (PHD) at KMAI. Indirectly, through her training and advocacy work, she has influenced many others to commit to PHD Standard for all future projects. The Passive House Standard is the most efficient building standard in the world. Her most recent projects have seen a reduction of up to 40% EUI (Energy Use Intensity), 40% GHG emissions and space heat demand reduction of more than 80%. She implemented a rigorous design process to maintain the quality and efficiency of the design to prevent unnecessary construction costs and subsequently energy costs. She advocates for a revised procurement approach so the right people can inform the design (including trades) at the right time. She works with manufacturers directly to meet the rigorous design requirement for PH, one of whom developed a Certified Passive House Component.

Zeina Elali – Senior Sustainability Advisor

Perkins&Will– Toronto, Ontario

Zeina ignited an industry movement with Curb the Carbon pledge for embodied carbon of Corporate Interiors projects, spearheading a deep dive to drawing down embodied carbon of materials for Perkins&Will Ontario. She is the founder of Canadian Carbon Circle, an industry-driven collaborative to promote full life cycle carbon thinking, viewing embodied and operation carbon at once. She brought over 50 industry leaders together to resolve issues and propel Mass Timber forward, including approval agencies, design professionals, manufacturers, and contractors. Zeina leads the sustainability discussion for Perkins&Will in mid & Eastern Canada, and led the launch of the Carbon Impact Commitment, devising a path to Net Zero Operations Carbon for 100% of building projects. She also led the development of the City of Toronto Net Zero Energy & Emissions Terms of Reference, to guide 100% of City-owned projects to plan for Net Zero from day 1 of operation, or develop a phased plan towards zero before 2040. The NZEE framework is applied to all new City-owned buildings, ensuring every project has a defined path to zero integrated within every design project.

Ariel Feldman – Director, Sustainability and Environmental Programs

Choice Properties REIT, Toronto, Ontario

In only two years, Ariel has transformed Choice Properties from a company with no sustainability program into a Canadian market leader with one of Canada’s strongest ESG programs at Canada’s largest real estate investment trust (REIT). His leadership has resulted in an annual energy reduction of 21 million kWh, an annual greenhouse gas reduction of 6,100 tonnes, and the certification of 20.2 million square feet of properties under either BOMA BEST or LEED. Ariel established a cross-functional Sustainability Steering Committee that included the CEO, CFO, and senior management from the various business units. Ariel served as the chair of the Committee and used it to gain consensus on setting the ESG strategy, educating the executive team on relevant ESG topics, and establishing 5-year targets related to environmental and social sustainability. He also led the assessment of over 700 properties for physical climate change risks, including recommendations to improve the resiliency of the portfolio. In 2020 the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark announced that Choice was one of only two Canadian companies on its “Significant Score Increases” list, recognizing the rapid expansion of Choice’s ESG program under Ariel’s direction.

Regan Smith – AVP, Managing Director, Head of Real Estate Sustainability

Manulife, Toronto, Ontario

Regan has overall accountability for implementing and managing the sustainability strategy across a global real estate portfolio, totaling over 60

Regan Smith has overall accountability for implementing and managing the sustainability strategy across Manulife Investment Management’s global real estate portfolio, totaling over 60 million square feet across 28 cities and 11 countries. She develops strategic programs to address changing global market demand, regulations and policy landscape and investor expectations towards sustainability and corporate ESG.

While at Manulife Investment Management, she has helped to advance the growth of their portfolio’s green building certifications to over 81%.1 In 2020, she led the initiative to commit to a GHG target for real estate portfolio; and launched a climate risk program to embed physical risk assessments and resilience across the investment portfolio.2

For Manulife Investment Management, reducing carbon also involves managing the spaces it leases, which means influencing other landlords to green their spaces. In 2020, Manulife Investment Management also incorporated sustainability into its global corporate leased space selection process, enabling an open a dialogue with prospective landlords on how they can collaborate to achieve environmental outcomes, updating their green corporate lease guidance so that teams can include these collaboration agreements in their leasing documents.

Regan is a member of Manulife Investment Management’s Climate Change Taskforce and works collaboratively to advance sustainability efforts throughout the enterprise.

Douglas Webber, Eric Chisholm, Luka Matutinovic & Peter Halsall

Purpose Building– Toronto, Ontario

The founding partners left their jobs to build a team who focus their collective expertise and experience solely on accelerating the real estate sector to solutions for healthy, low carbon buildings that fit a circular economy.

Although there was no existing business model for this service, Purpose Building’s growing list of public and private sector clients has verified a critical need in the market – and the expertise of the full Purpose team.

In the last two years, Purpose has directly influenced assets with a cumulative total value of $10B to improve performance. They have also developed a fully costed plan to transition all of the City of Toronto’s owned buildings (100Msf in 2,500 facilities) to zero carbon. This plan was presented and approved by City Council this summer and will result in annual carbon savings of 114,000 tonnes and annual utility cost savings of $90M.