Habitat For Humanity Canada recognizes green building excellence

2013 Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life National Award winner announced at Habitat for Humanity Canada AGM

REGINA, May 3, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, Habitat for Humanity Canada presented Johannes Ziebarth with the fifth-annual Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life National Award for Leadership in Sustainable and Affordable Home Building at its Annual General Meeting in Niagara Falls. Johannes Ziebarth is the President of Habitat for Humanity National Capital Region's (NCR) Board of Directors, and has been instrumental in instituting and advancing recognized sustainable building practices[1]over his more than 15 years as a volunteer with the organization.

The award was created in 2009 to encourage and inspire more volunteers to champion the issue of affordable homeownership in their community. It was also designed to encourage the adoption of sustainable building practices to address "energy poverty" - an affordability issue many households face in the wake of increasing utility costs. The annual award provides $25,000 to a Habitat for Humanity volunteer in Canada for direction toward a Habitat sustainable building project.

"Home ownership provides a multitude of personal and community benefits and yet, for many low-income families, rising utility costs are an extra financial challenge," says Jan Belanger, Assistant Vice-President, Community Affairs, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life. "Our hope is that this award encourages individuals like Johannes to actively support and engage in affordable and sustainable home building as a means to help Canadians break the 'energy poverty' cycle."

Johannes Ziebarth has volunteered thousands of hours with Habitat for Humanity NCR since the 1990s, and currently serves as the organization's Board President. An electrical contractor by trade, Johannes has provided the equivalent of $750,000 in support to Habitat for Humanity NCR through fundraising efforts and has personally wired 40 Habitat homes built in the region. Johannes' efforts have also resulted in the development of a major long-term partnership between Habitat for Humanity NCR and Bonneville Homes, a builder of sustainable pre-engineered homes, enabling his local Habitat affiliate to build green for several years to come.

"Last year, 80 percent of the 220 Habitat homes built in Canada were constructed to recognized green building standards," said Kevin Marshman, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada. "It's because of the efforts of dedicated volunteers like Johannes that Habitat is not only able to provide affordable ownership of safe and decent homes, but also improve our communities by building sustainably."

Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life, along with their staff and distribution associates, have a long history of supporting Habitat for Humanity Canada, sponsoring multiple builds and contributing hundreds of volunteer hours. In 2009, Great-West Life and its subsidiaries made a five-year commitment of $250,000 to create and support this award program.

About Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life:
Great-West Life is a leading Canadian insurer which, together with its subsidiaries, London Life and Canada Life, serves the financial security needs of more than 12 million people across Canada. As an Imagine Caring Company, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life donate a minimum of one per cent of average pre-tax profits to non-profit, charitable and community organizations each year.

About Habitat for Humanity Canada:
Founded in 1985, Habitat for Humanity Canada is a national, non-profit organization working towards a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live. With the help of over 63,000 volunteers every year and 69 affiliate organizations from coast to coast, their mission is to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means to break the cycle of poverty in Canada and around the world. For more information on Habitat for Humanity Canada, please visit www.habitat.ca.

[1] Definition of Sustainable Building Practice as it applies to Habitat for Humanity (HFH):

When considering "sustainability" one thinks of exploiting natural resources without destroying the ecological balance of an area. To HFH, Sustainable Building Practices also take into consideration enhanced Energy Efficiency, aligning with locally recognized initiatives/programs and limiting the environmental impact of the house during construction and after occupancy. At the same time, HFH makes a concerted effort to maintain true affordability for the organization during construction and for the Partner Family once they occupy the dwelling.

SOURCE: Habitat for Humanity Canada

For further information:

Derek Mletzko
Manager, Marketing & Communications
Habitat for Humanity Canada
(416) 294-3039

Marlene Klassen
Assistant Vice-President, Communication Services
Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life
(204) 946-7705

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