2019/ 12/20

Table discussion interpreted by Linda Francis and Alain Jegen.

Priority: Specify in Ottawa’s Official Plan the need to reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions in residential, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings, with the end-goal of achieving community net zero emissions by 2050. In doing so the City would be empowered to integrate sustainable design requirements and GHG reduction targets into the approvals processes for new developments and building retrofits that would allow it to regulate building performance.

Policy Actions:

  • Ensure the City of Ottawa has the necessary authority under the Municipal Act/City of Ottawa to mandate and regulate sustainable design requirements and green building standards through bylaws and fines.
  • Develop green municipal policies, codes and standards. The development of mandatory municipal green building codes and product standards over and above the requirements of the Ontario Building Code would allow the City to set GHG reduction targets and regulate building performance. The codes and standards must apply to both new development and retrofits. Local municipal codes incorporating sustainable design requirements as well as resiliency elements should regulate all aspects of building performance including but not limited to energy consumption, energy storage, waste reduction, sustainability of building envelopes, green infrastructure, air quality in buildings and end of life GHG emissions.
  • Implement sustainable procurement performance policies and standards for municipal infrastructure and new development that would call for green architecture and engineering, increased use of engineered wood in multi storey buildings, low energy consumption targets, waste reduction standards, green infrastructure requirements and upfront life cycle planning that will include for green operations and disposal.
  • Institute planning and approval processes that prioritize and enable neighbourhood-wide energy reduction projects such as waste heat recovery from sewage systems, district heating sources, green and alternate roofing systems, better use of drinking/fresh water, grey water recycling, conversion to renewable energy sources, etc.
  • Advocate for and facilitate neighbourhood-wide Energy Performance Contracts.
  • Provide incentives to individual owners to encourage GHG reduction projects by way of property and land transfer tax reductions or rebates based on meeting performance targets.
  • Provide developers with financial incentives to design and build net zero energy homes or even energy positive buildings exceeding municipal green codes and standards through development fee rebates and reduced local improvement charges.
  • Provide leadership and advocacy through neighbourhood associations and industry partners to create a strong demand to deliver net zero buildings by 2025.

Immediate steps:

The City should immediately determine if there are legislative constraints in its ability to impose mandatory green standards and targets and regulate these in new developments and retrofits, and if so, advocate for their removal.

The City must set mandatory GHG reduction targets for new developments and implement these in the planning and approvals process.

Since other Ontario cities have implemented green standards, Ottawa’s city planners can either adopt or adapt these to suit our distinct geographic and environmental setting with the goal of implementation within a short period of time.

Undertake discussions with other jurisdictions utilizing central heating plants to determine the feasibility of extending these district heating systems to the Ottawa Core.

Linkages with other priorities: 

Reducing green house gas emissions through high performance buildings will contribute to intensification and renewal of the urban core, waste reduction, and fostering 15-minute neighbourhoods (see Building, Water and Waste posts). It draws on and provides a focus for accountability and shared governance by linking the municipality to neighbourhood associations (see Overview posts). Existing zero-energy apartment building designs should be considered for new social and affordable housing developments as well as the integration of a village approach and shared communal space to enhance community living beside high rise towers (see Transportation posts).