Emerging Green Leader
Meet Samantha Menard, 2020’s Emerging Green Leader
The Emerging Green Leader Award recognizes a deserving student or young professional who has made a significant contribution to advocating, educating, or practicing green building, and community development. This year the Canada Green Building Council, along with award sponsor Dialog, were thrilled to acknowledge Samantha Menard, a manager with EQ Building Performance’s Energy Team.
Here, we get to know a little more about 2020’s Emerging Green Leader.
1. Tell us about your organizations and what you do for them?
I work at EQ Building Performance where our mission is to guide the creation of responsible buildings. EQ was initially the Engineering Division of Provident Energy Management Inc. and became independent in 2017. Working now as a part of the Cricket Energy group of companies gives us a unique edge on actual building performance and operation. We primarily work delivering detailed energy analysis for both new construction and existing developments, advising on high-performance building certifications, and providing whole-building commissioning. At EQ, I lead our Energy team. I help clients to set and achieve their energy performance goals while encouraging them to optimize their designs to create the best building they can.
2. Tell us about your career and how you came to be in the role you are now.
I began my career in buildings by studying architecture with a focus on building science at Ryerson. As I studied, I found myself most drawn to not just designing buildings, but in making them better. After school I began energy modelling for building code and LEED compliance. This exposure to LEED allowed me to expand my role into sustainability consulting as well. I’ve tried to take every opportunity offered to me, from conferences to volunteering for a local IBPSA chapter, to grow my knowledge and network whenever possible. As I gained more experience, I began taking on more responsibility on my projects, eventually working my way to my current role leading the energy team at EQ.
3. Did you have any mentors or role models as you developed your career? What insights did they provide that have helped you advance?
The greatest mentor I have had in my career so far has been Craig McIntyre (EQ Building Performance). Throughout his career he has become a respected name in the consulting industry in Toronto and has served on the Energy & Engineering TAG for years. He has always encouraged me to learn new things and helped me grow my network to gain numerous consulting opportunities including the development of both Toronto Green Standard v3 and the ENERGY STAR MultiFamily High-Rise program. He has always made time to listen to my concerns and talk about my career. By teaching through example, he has shown me how to lead a team and grow them to their potential. I’m grateful for the friendship that we’ve developed over the years.
Jenny McMinn (Urban Equation) and Charlotte Matthews (Sidewalk Labs) have also been great examples for me of strong women in leadership positions in this industry.
4. Tell us a little bit about a project you are particularly proud of.
One of the projects I am most proud of being a part of is the work we were able to do with Sidewalk Labs Toronto. EQ is fortunate to be in a position to have access to existing building energy use paired with their as-constructed energy models, and this project gave us the opportunity to dig deep into the data. I love digging into the numbers and being able to identify key sources of the performance gap as well as make suggestions on how to reduce this gap in the future was an amazing experience.
5. What do you see are the key issues / opportunities facing your profession?
I think one of the biggest issues we face is access to data. In order to move to net zero, we need to ensure that existing buildings know how they stack up to both their peers and these strict targets and what they are able to do to reduce consumption. While Ontario now has requirements for energy and water reporting and benchmarking, it’s still in an early stage and doesn’t address every building. Having widespread public data on water, waste, and energy use will give our industry, building occupants, and building operators the insights needed to make smart and effective changes.
6. You were recently named Emerging Green Leader as part of CaGBC’s Leadership and Green Building Excellence Awards. What does it mean to you to be recognized in this way?
Being named as Emerging Green Leader has been a huge honour. With every project I work on, I want to do all that I can to improve the project by helping the client and design team make the best building that they can. It can be difficult to see the impact of your work when you’re constantly working on deadlines and new opportunities, but this award has allowed me to step back and see that my hard work is making a difference on a larger scale.
7. What advice do you have for young people looking to pursue a career in green building and especially energy management?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! There are so many opportunities to learn about green building or to meet with people already working in the industry. The CaGBC, IBPSA, and other organizations have in-depth education courses on a wide variety of topics including sustainability, energy management, new codes, and evolving standards. With things moving online due to the pandemic, access to these courses and networking opportunities are better than ever before. If you find a topic you find particularly interesting, reaching out to the speaker can be a huge help in answering your questions or for help finding resources to learn more.
CaGBC’s Leadership and Green Building Excellence Awards are given out annually. Emerging Green Professionals (EGP) are eligible for the Emerging Green Leader Award. An EGP is either a full-time student or 30 years of age or younger with a passion for green building. This award is presented to an individual who is a member of a regional Chapter or an employee of a corporate member company. Evaluations consider demonstrated leadership among peers; potential for leadership; and, commitment to sustainability. For more information visit cagbc.org/awards.