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Green Building Policy

Green Building Policy for the Construction of Corporate Buildings

Approved By: City Council
Approval Date: September 28, 2005
Category: General Administration
Effective Date: September 28, 2005
Revision Approved By: General Manager, Infrastructure Services Department
Revision Date: December 15, 2015

Policy statement

The City of Ottawa is committed to a sustainable existence and strives to reduce the environmental impacts of its operations. In recognition of the potential negative impacts associated with the design, construction and operation of the municipal building inventory, all new buildings will be designed and delivered in accordance with the Certified performance level of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – Canada (LEEDTM - Canada) Green Building Rating System.

The design, construction and operation of the municipal building inventory not only requires significant capital expenditures, but has documented negative environmental impacts. The design and delivery of municipal buildings that have been LEEDTM – Canada Certified clearly demonstrates improved fiscal, environmental and corporate responsibility.


The purpose of this policy is to:

  • align the design, construction and operation of municipal buildings with commitments made in the Ottawa 20/20 Environmental Strategy;
  • reduce operating costs to the City through improved energy and water efficiency and storm water management;
  • reduce landfill requirements by encouraging the reuse and recycling of construction, renovation and demolition materials (which in turn closes the loop by encouraging the use of materials that contain recycled content);
  • utilize existing infrastructure by encouraging the renovation and redevelopment of sites within the City core;
  • encourage increased ridership of the existing public transportation system through site selection, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality;
  • demonstrate leadership in commitments to sustainable development;
  • show leadership in sustainable design, and encourage other development within the City to follow the principles set out in this policy; and
  • promote a safe, healthy and productive workplace for all City employees and visitors.


This policy applies to all City of Ottawa employees involved in the design and construction of new municipal buildings with a footprint greater than 500 square metres (5,400 square feet).

Policy requirements

All newly constructed buildings with a footprint greater than 500 square metres (5,400 square feet) must be designed, delivered and certified by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) as being LEEDTM – Canada Certified at minimum.

All newly constructed buildings will incorporate energy efficient features, and the LEEDTM – Canada Green Building Rating System includes energy performance prerequisites.

The City encourages the application of sustainable design principles during the retrofit and renovation of its existing structures, where practical.

Historic buildings shall be exempt from the requirements of this policy. However, wherever practical, best efforts should be made to incorporate as many of the green building requirements and credits from the LEEDTM – Canada Green Building Rating System as possible, without compromising the historical integrity of the structure.


Departmental Managers:

Will be responsible for ensuring that project budgets contain the five per cent investment funding required to support the delivery of LEEDTM – Canada Certified building projects.

Project Managers:

Will be responsible for delivering LEEDTM – Canada Certified building projects.

Supply Branch, Finance Department:

Will be responsible for ensuring that all RFP and tender documents include the LEEDTM requirement, as applicable.


The Design and Construction, Buildings and Parks Branch of the Infrastructure Services Department is responsible for the delivery of many City building projects. When a building project falls within the parameters of the Green Building Policy, Design and Construction will include the appropriate language in both the consultant and the construction contracts to ensure compliance with the policy requirements. Failure to comply with the contract will be administered through the legal avenues provided within each contract.

Design and Construction will co-ordinate and produce an annual report identifying the conformance of City projects with the Green Building Policy.

Legislative and administrative authorities

Ottawa City Council Minutes 40, September 28, 2005
Corporate Services and Economic Development Committee Report 35, ACS2005-CRS-RPR-0041, September 28, 2005


Building – any structure used for support or shelter of any use or occupancy, as defined by the Ontario Building Code.

Construction – the building of any structure or any portion thereof.

Green – products, technologies, processes or actions that provide reduced environmental impacts over traditional products or methods.

LEEDTM Green Building Rating System – the most recent version of the LEEDTM – Canada rating system or other related LEEDTM rating product approved by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).

Renovation – any addition or modification to an existing building or structure.

Sustainable Development – the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Keyword search

Green Buildings
Sustainable Development


For more information on this policy contact:

Manager, Design and Construction, Buildings and Parks Branch
Infrastructure Services Department
City of Ottawa
613-580-2424, ext. 43229