Ask the Expert: Hillary Geer

International Women's Day
Member Profiles

Hillary Geer is the lead energy consultant and WELL AP on several high-profile projects in Southwestern Ontario, including the Baker District redevelopment in Guelph and the Etobicoke Civic Centre in Toronto. She is also involved in numerous high-performance residential and commercial developments pursuing certifications such as LEED, Zero Carbon Building – Design Standard, WELL, One Planet Living, Toronto Green Standard, and Passive House. Geer actively advocates for sustainable design through seminars, collaborations, and by volunteering as an Emerging Green Professional mentor. Her strong mechanical background and commitment to climate-positive design drive her involvement in novel initiatives and leadership roles at EQ Building Performance, as well as industry collaborations supporting energy and sustainability. Geer’s work and efforts were recognized by the 2023 CAGBC Award for an Emerging Green Leader.

Tell us about your career and how you came to find yourself in your current role.

I graduated from mechanical engineering at Queen’s and started working in mechanical design. I found the construction and building industry very interesting and fast paced. I have always had a passion for the environment and I was interested in looking at the whole building design so I made the transition to energy modelling at EQ. I leveraged my mechanical background to understand complex designs and communicate the energy model requirements in a technical way to the design team. From there I became interested in learning more about high performing building envelopes to understand the whole building picture. I am now fortunate to work on high performance building projects where I can apply my expertise across multiple disciplines.

Of the various projects you have worked on, does one stand out for which you are most proud?

Working on the Etobicoke Civic Centre has been a notable project in my career. The project is a mixed use facility for the public, that is achieving Tier 4 energy efficiency. I love working on projects that not only serve the public, but the environment as well. We all deserve a community gathering spaces that are an example of future building performance, and ECC does a great job of that. The project is complex; however working with a familiar design team I’ve had the pleasure to work with in the past has made it a great and rewarding experience.

What advice do you have for other young professionals looking to make their mark in the green building industry?

There are lots of emerging technologies and buzz words in this booming industry however I don’t believe there is one silver bullet that will solve the building industry’s impact on climate change. Everything is connected, and diversification is key. Keep your eyes on everything.

You were named Emerging Green Leader as part of CAGBC’s 2023 Leadership and Green Building Excellence Awards. What does it mean to you to be recognized in this way?

It means everything to be recognized in this way. I am so grateful for this award and thankful to those who nominated me. It is validation of the past 8 years of work I have put into the industry. It shows that if you have passion for what you do you can truly succeed in more ways than I could have ever thought possible.

DAILOG Sponsor Question: What is the biggest challenge facing the green building industry right now and what do you want to see change in order to overcome that challenge?

I see one of the biggest challenges as electrification and building’s impact on the electricity grid. As we electrify our buildings (existing and new), not only the overall load on the grid but the peak demand will increase and may shift from summer to winter. Most grids may not be ready for this from a renewable or low carbon infrastructure perspective.
What I’d like to see is a focus on peak demand within third party programs/and or municipality requirements. Peak demand savings is hard to quantify, but I think if we start shifting our focus there now in a couple years time we’ll be able to develop measurable targets.

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