Looking back on Edward Mazria’s 35 years of remarkable leadership in environmental design and energy consciousness, we can be grateful that fate lit his path so well, and that he chose to follow it so passionately. But Mazria’s journey has been anything but a straight course, from his serendipitous entry into architecture and solar design; through his prolific years as a pioneering passive solar researcher, architect, author, and professor; to becoming one of the leading voices in a revolutionary battle against climate change.

At every crossroad, Mazria faced choices that could have led him in very different directions, but his instinctive timing, creative restlessness, persistent curiosity, and ever-deepening architectural conscience and vision conspired along the way to transform his career choice into his life’s work. The twists and turns of this journey add richness to Mazria’s story and depth to his contributions, all of which have led to his selection as the first recipient of The Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing—the industry’s premier award for extraordinary, lasting, and far-reaching contributions to the advancement of sustainable housing in the U.S.

“Edward Mazria has had a powerful impact on sustainable design,” says Michael J. Hanley, founder of The Hanley Foundation and creator of the award. “He has influenced innovative advances in design and technology through his creative architecture, energetic teaching, and groundbreaking writing. And Ed’s current mission with his non-profit Architecture 2030 brings his vision and leadership to a new level. We’re thrilled to name him as our first recipient.”

The Hanley Award is sponsored by The Hanley Foundation, EcoHome, and EcoHome’s parent company, Hanley Wood, and will be presented to Mazria along with its $50,000 grant Nov. 12 during the USGBC’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Phoenix.

If The Hanley Award were simply an honor for creating an influential body of architectural work or for contributions to technical research and innovation in buildings, Mazria’s accomplishments in these areas alone would shine. But the award and Mazria’s significant impact go well beyond his buildings. His early research and architectural work in the 1970s form the basis of understanding for concepts that are unmistakable in the details and principles applied in today’s high-performance homes. Design concepts promoted by today’s sustainability leaders are rooted in Mazria’s 1979 milestone The Passive Solar Energy Book, which translated complex solar and building performance engineering data into an understandable vocabulary.