Building Magazine


Annual award winners highlight achievements in sustainable development, building efficiency and design leadership

Three distinguished Canadians were recognized for their outstanding contributions to creating a more sustainable built environment. Dr. Vicky Sharpe of Sustainable Development Technology Canada, pioneering building envelope efficiency expert Harold Orr, and Mario Kani of Sustainable EDGE each received a Sustainable Buildings Canada ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ yesterday at the 2013 Green Building Festival.

Sustainable Buildings Canada Treasurer Bob Bach announced the winners, stating “From a wide field of worthy individuals, we are honoured to select and celebrate our esteemed colleagues who go above and beyond ‘business as usual’ to demonstrate an exemplary long term commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.  Mario, Harold and Vicky, in their diverse roles, have each made outstanding measurable improvements to the sustainable building sector in Canada, and we are thrilled to congratulate and fete them today.”

The honourees received a 100 per cent post-consumer recycled glass plaques and celebrated at a wine and cheese reception surrounded by several hundred industry peers. They join honourees from seven previous years of awards, who are listed on the SBC website:

Vicky J. Sharpe

Vicky Sharpe is President and CEO of Sustainable Development Technology Canada, a federal government initiative to help develop and commercialize clean technologies in Canada.  As founding CEO, Dr. Sharpe has increased the funding pool from $100M to over $1B and mobilized private sector capital resulting in more than $3.6B of investments for projects and commercialization activities. With over 25 years of experience in the energy industry, Dr. Sharpe has successfully integrated sustainable development into business practices as President of GRI Canada and Astral Group, and Vice President of Ontario Hydro International Inc. . She has served on numerous technology and industry association committees, is a founding member of several organizations dedicated to cleantech and innovation, and is recognised as one of the Clean 16, a top spot on Canada’s 2012 Clean 50 (  She holds a B.Sc. Honours in Applied Biology from Bath University, UK, and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Chemistry, as applied to water pollution control, from Trent University, UK.

Harold Orr

Harold Orr comes from a long line of builders going back to both of his great grandfathers. After attaining a Bachelor of Engineering degree in 1959 and his Master of Science in 1962 both at the University of Saskatchewan, Mr Orr moved to Ottawa where his work on thermal resistance of building materials for the National Research Council (NCR) led to the development of the ‘blower door’ building envelope test still in wide use to this day. An authority on retrofitting for energy conservation and better liveability, he was a principle on the Saskatchewan Conservation House project team, and his work influenced the Passive House and Net Zero movements. He has worked in private consultancy, as an engineering professor and wood preservation expert, and has authored numerous papers about energy and retrofitting buildings. Married for sixty years, his legacy includes 8 children, 22 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.

Mario W. Kani

Mario has spent 35 years providing consulting on ecological, economic and social sustainability for the built environment. His expertise includes efficient and durable envelope design, highly-efficient and alternative mechanical technologies, and sustainable community systems. He is one of the foremost experts in green buildings and has helped to create some of the most cutting-edge, low-energy buildings in existence today. Mario is a LEED Accredited Professional and has been a key consultant to projects achieving LEED certification, the Toronto Green Standard and the Living Building Challenge. Mario has served on several boards of community environmental and energy non-profit organizations. As President of Sustainable EDGE Ltd., Mario provides leadership to design teams and owners engaged in the next generation of green buildings and sustainable communities.

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