Good news is a rare commodity these days, even within the green building community, so it is with great pleasure that I announce the creation of The Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing, co-sponsored by The Hanley Foundation, EcoHome magazine, and EcoHome’s parent company, Hanley Wood.

This annual award will honor individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary, lasting, and far-reaching contributions to the advancement of sustainable housing in the United States, working within residential design and construction, technical research, product development, educational outreach, environmental advocacy, governmental policy, or related fields. The award winner will receive $50,000, the largest annual award ever established in the housing industry recognizing significant achievement in this crucial area.

The first Hanley Award will be presented at the USGBC Hanley Award Dinner at the U.S. Green Building Council’s annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Phoenix this November.

The vision, leadership, and commitment to create this unprecedented award came from Michael J. Hanley, co-founder and retired CEO of Hanley Wood, and founder of the Washington, D.C.–based Hanley Foundation. For the past 10 years, this family foundation has supported people and programs working to improve education, health care, the environment, and affordable housing, as well as a variety of humanitarian issues.

Mike, as he is known throughout the industry, put it this way in describing his goals for The Hanley Award: “I want to create an award that recognizes the passion, dedication, and genius we’ve seen from those leading the way toward sustainable housing, that supports their continued contributions, and that inspires the work of others in this field. This is a critical time for sustainability to take hold in our industry, and I am very excited about The Hanley Award and the impact it will have.”

Twelve renowned industry leaders have committed to serve on the Nominating Committee that will submit the candidates for consideration by the Judges Panel in June. These Committee members come from public and private sectors specializing in green building, sustainable architecture, affordable housing, building science, energy policy, performance standards, and public outreach. Many could be considered candidates themselves.

The Nominating Committee includes Alex Wilson of Building Green LLC, Nate Kredich from the USGBC, Builder magazine’s Denise Dersin, Doug Seiter of the U.S. Department of Energy, David Johnston of What’s Working, Mark LaLiberte from Building Knowledge, Kevin Gobble from Habitat for Humanity, Claire Conroy of residential architect magazine, Mike Hodgson from ConSol, Sandra Mendler of Mithun, Kathleen O’Brien of O’Brien and Co., Dennis Creech of the Southface Energy Institute, and Eric Borsting, chair of NAHB’s Green Building Subcommittee.

The Judges selecting The Hanley Award winner from the slate of nominees will be Michael J. Hanley, Frank Anton, CEO of Hanley Wood, Steven Winter, FAIA of Steven Winter Associates, Allison Ewing, AIA of Hays + Ewing Design Studio, and Sarah Susanka, FAIA of Susanka Studios.

It’s an amazing program and an amazing team, and I expect in November we will present the award to an amazing person.