Peter Gilgan’s acceptance speech at the 2014 EQ Awards

ENERGY STAR® for New Homes Peter Gilgan’s acceptance speech at the 2014 EQ Awards

Mattamy Homes Founder and CEO Inducted into the EnerQuality Hall of Fame.

Mattamy Homes has become one of North America’s biggest, best known and most respected builders because of its leadership. Since the 70’s, Peter Gilgan, Founder and CEO, has led the way, driving innovation in every aspect of residential development, including energy efficiency and green building. Case in point: Mattamy Homes, an early adopter of ENERGY STAR®® for New Homes, has built more than 11,000 ENERGY STAR® qualified homes in Ontario alone!

To recognize his lasting impact on energy efficiency in the residential construction industry, Mr. Gilgan was inducted into the EnerQuality Hall of Fame at the annual EQ Awards on February 19, 2015 at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel. What follows is a (slightly edited) transcript of his funny and thought-provoking acceptance speech. Congratulations!

First of all thank you very much for this award. I am sure this is built out of some kind of recycled material

I built my first community in 1978 and it consisted of two homes. I had this great idea: I was going to put this stuff on the outside of the houses, this little white bead board stuff. Somebody said it would help insulate the houses. So I put this extra inch and a half of that stuff on it. In those days, I thought it was pretty innovative.

Anyway, I sold those houses eventually, and I said to the sales fella after: So how did you think that extra insulation helped to sell the houses? And he looked at me with that blank stare: “Oh my god, I forgot to mention it.”

So that was my first experience in the value of energy saving marketing campaigns.

But you know, I wasn’t deterred. Around ‘83 or ‘84, our federal government came up with something called an R-2000 Energy Savings Program. There might be a few in the room who remember it. It was actually a really cool technological/scientific program: the size overhangs, the orientation of homes to the sun, solar gain, passive solar and how high the window sill should be relative to the sun, relative to the orientation of the house, and so on and so forth… It was really neat for a few eggheads like me. But it didn’t really go anywhere, so by about 2000 the program sort of just fizzled.

I remember then going on another venture. Some might remember this. It was when Paul Martin was the Finance Minister and it was the Ministers’ Roundtable of the Environment and the Economy (MTRE)? It was great for about two to three years and then the government changed and the program died. Do you remember that? Yeah.

Here we are again. Another wonderful experience with energy initiatives in our country. Everything sort of dies. And I’m wondering, speaking of dying, usually when they give these [Hall of Fame Awards] they either give them after you retired or posthumously. I am hoping neither one will be true for a long time.

Anyway, I could go on with stories like that – the point is, when things don’t succeed at first it doesn’t mean they won’t, it just means you are a little bit early.

I believe that the last 35 years or so that I’ve been in this business, we’ve been practicing for success. I think the time for success in terms of the merging of environmental interest and economic interest is right here, today. I think up until now, we’ve all been practicing.

I sincerely believe that there are ways in the environment – in the economic and social environment today – for our industry to make mammoth differences on a really, much grander scale than any of us really thought was possible before.

I can tell you at our company we are committed to making that happen. I can tell you that 10 years from now, whatever measure was used to earn this award – and I say us because it is us that earns it – will seem like nothing compared to what we are going to be able to accomplish in the next 10 years.

Most importantly we are going to accomplish it and contribute to the economy at the same time. Without contributing to the economy, we are just a few people with some good thoughts.

The time is now for the two to work together. I can see a few nods in the audience. I noticed when Carol was making her speech, she was intermingling the words ‘environment’ and ‘economy’ without even thinking about it, and I think not many of us get that just yet. But I suggest that’s going to change. And now is the time for that to change.

With that, I wish everyone a good evening. Thank God that at least we have some insulation in our building on nights like tonight!

Cheers