March 8 marks International Women’s Day. On this day we acknowledge and celebrate women’s accomplishments across the globe. This year’s theme is #Breakthe Bias. The theme focuses on creating a more inclusive, equal, and diverse world for women.
In honor of International Women’s Day, we want to shed light on three Canadian women who are paving the way for sustainability and breaking down barriers within the construction industry.
Lisa is the Senior Principal at B+H Architects, working as a Global Sustainability Lead and Advance Strategy. Bate is a trailblazer for other women focusing on sustainable construction. Lisa has broken barriers as the first woman and the second Canadian to Chair the World Green Building Council.
Lisa’s led her team on large-scale complex projects in conjunction with mentoring future leaders in the design and construction sector. One of Bate’s projects, Mohawk College’s Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation, was the first NetZero Carbon institutional building in Canada.
Bate has many accomplishments throughout her career including Canada’s 2019 Clean16 winner for the Building-Design, Development & Management sector of Canada’s Clean50 Awards; the 2016 Women in Sustainability Leadership Award, Green Building & Design, LA,USA.1
Natasha is the owner of EthelFox Construct Group, a renovation, roofing, and landscaping company based in Toronto. Over the years Natasha continuously had to prove her skills and ability in a male-dominated field. In an industry where she strives to break down the barriers, she was getting turned down from jobs.
Frustrated by the lack of support as a woman in trades, Natasha launched the EthelFox Construct Group. With 70% of her employees being women, Natasha wants to use her company to break down the barriers and biases for women entering and working in construction. In addition to her company, Ferguson is launching a nonprofit called A Women’s Work in 2022. The nonprofit is aimed to support and offer training for women in the industry.
Ferguson hopes to break down the barriers for women and help them pursue careers across the male-dominated field.
Birgit Siber is the Principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects, with a focus on sustainability and regenerative environments. She was the recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award for her “exemplary devotion to the cause of greater sustainability in the built environment.”
Siber spearheaded the first large-scale living wall at the University of Guelph Humber Campus in Etobicoke, Ont. She also initiated ecoMetrics, “an energy-use benchmarking databank and analysis tool that highlights and informs strategies for energy-use reduction.”2
Siber’s projects encompass institutional and laboratory building designs. One notable project is Lazaridis Hall at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont. This building achieved LEED Gold Certification in 2019 and won Civic Trust Award (UK) and SCUP Excellence in Architecture Award (USA), and the LEED Platinum Certified CANMET Metallurgical Materials laboratory in Hamilton, Ontario.3