Passive House Canada Recognize Three with Harold Orr Awards

Passive House Canada closed its annual conference by honouring three outstanding individuals with the prestigious Harold Orr Award: Sean Botham of CityHousing Hamilton; Lisa King with the City of Toronto; and Sonia Zouari with the National Centre of Expertise at Public Services and Procurement Canada. 

The award is named after Dr. Harold Orr, who was central to the team that designed and built a house using many attributes later incorporated into the modern Passive House standard. Thicker insulation, quality windows, low air leakage, minimal thermal brides, heat recovery ventilation system and passive solar alignment were ideas Orr, both a master carpenter and an engineer, built into the Saskatchewan Conservation House. These attributes caught the attention of researchers for the European Union, and data provided by the project – and the technical know-how of Mr. Orr’s crew – were shared with scientists from Europe. Among them was Dr. Wolfgang Feist, who went on to establish the Passive House Institute and its science-based standard. 

The Harold Orr awards recognize an individual’s contributions to increasing awareness of both passive house and net zero standards with government and business 

“Passive House is gaining incredible ground thanks to the enthusiasm and hard work of people like this year’s recipients. As these individuals have championed high-performance buildings, like Passive House, in their respective portfolios, the impact has been an increased awareness and reach of Passive House across Ontario and beyond, as more areas embrace high performance building standards that achieve net zero or nearly-net zero operational carbon,” said Passive House Canada CEO Chris Ballard in a statement.  

“I’m grateful for their partnership in furthering the cause of decarbonized building in Canada,” he added. 

This year’s recipients

Sean Botham is the Manager of Development at CityHousing Hamilton, where he leads the revitalization and growth of Hamilton’s municipally-owned housing provider. Sean led the restart of the City of Hamilton’s social housing development program, the first phase of which includes 8 projects, with a yield of 495 affordable rental units.  

His work also includes providing oversight of redevelopments that are creating mixed income communities that add 114 assisted housing and over 1100 private rental and ownership units. Notably, his team have also advanced affordable housing preservation through tower renewal by completing the largest high-performance MURB EnerPHit in the world, the Ken Soble Tower. 

Lisa King is senior policy planner with the City of Toronto and has worked hard to both understand Passive House and to position it within City building legislation. She was part of the team that created the Toronto Green Standard and leads the development of Toronto’s Zero Emissions Buildings Framework.  

Sonia Zouari is Manager, BIM & Digital Twin Adoption and Implementation Strategic Initiative at the National Centre of Expertise at Public Services and Procurement Canada. Sonia has been instrumental in bringing Passive House into high-level conversations in the Federal Government, as well as promoting the Passive House standard to architects and others across Canada and the world. 

The awards were announced during the closing ceremonies of the Passive House Canada Conference on May 10th.   

Harold Orr Award recipient Sean Botham (right) on the Passive House Canada Conference 2023 Project Tours.