Sustainable buildings in Ottawa


The City of Ottawa is the capital of Canada and the fourth largest municipality in the country by population. The City has undertaken a variety of environmental and sustainability initiatives in the past 15 years. In 2005,Ottawa’s City Council approved an Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan that outlined specific greenhouse gas reduction targets for both the corporation and the community. In 2014, the City Council of Ottawa in a Provincial Policy Statement to support energy, conservation, and efficiency improved air quality, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and climate change adaptation through land use and development patterns. The Policy Background went into details on how to achieve these goals, including compact city development, low carbon development, and sustainable sited and building design

As Ottawa has integrated sustainable sites and building design into its sustainable strategy, most buildings and renovation sites must adhere to LEED standards. Approved by City Council in 2005, the Green Building Policy requires all newly constructed buildings, that are larger than 500 sq, to have minimum certification of LEED. The policy encourages the implementation of sustainable design including retrofitting, renovation, and heritage projects. The City Council of Ottawa has taken many steps to increase the number of green buildings within Ottawa including:

  • Canal Building: The 100,000 sq ft building has LEED Gold standard through its smart green roof, photovoltaic panels, water saving technology, and other features;
  • Flaherty Building: The 700,000 sq ft for the Government of Canada offices has a LEED Gold Standard through its responsive material selection, green roofs, use of natural light, pedestrian environment, other features: and
  • Ampersand: The mixed-use neighborhood with over 1,000 homes and 75,000 sq ft for commercial use is LEED Platinum with energy conserving features, PV panels, permeable pavements, easy access to public transit, and other features.

As of July 2015, the City of Ottawa has over 200 registered LEED projects, more than any municipality or city in Canada. To learn more about LEED standards, please visit the Canada Green Building Council website.