Climate change and energy

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News and engagement opportunities

Climate change volunteers 

Have you taken steps to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions such as retrofitting your home, installing a heat pump or ditching your gas car? The Climate Change and Resiliency team would like to hear from you. In fact, we think everyone would like to hear from you! We’re piloting a climate change volunteer outreach program so you can share your story with others who want to take action on climate change.  

If you’re interested in volunteering, get in touch at climatechange@ottawa.ca

City of Ottawa joins Race to Zero

The City of Ottawa and partners across Ottawa have joined the United Nation’s Race to Zero campaign. Race to Zero is a global coalition of cities, businesses, and institutions to enact climate action.

By joining Race to Zero, organizations are required to develop plans and take immediate action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 as well as report publicly on their progress. The following Ottawa organizations have signed up and share a vision of a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth:

The City of Ottawa fulfills all the Race to Zero requirements though the Climate Change Master Plan and Energy Evolution. The City invites other businesses and institutions to join them in signing up to the Race to Zero and committing to taking action in climate change in Ottawa. Find out more and sign up on the Race to Zero website.

Upcoming events

Twitter Live Chat

10 Common Electric Vehicle Myths Busted
Thursday, November 24

Noon to 1pm

Do you have questions about electric vehicles? Join EV Experience on Twitter for a live Q&A and get your questions answered by industry experts. Follow #EVXChats to participate. 

Climate Emergency

On April 24, 2019, City Council declared a Climate Emergency for the purposes of naming, framing, and deepening our commitment to protecting our economy, our eco systems, and our community from climate change.

The declaration provides additional direction to staff for expanded work on the Climate Change Master Plan, Energy Evolution, and the future Climate Resiliency Plan.

Corporate Climate Change Initiatives

The following document provides a high-level overview of policies, specific city initiatives and examples of how the City is collaborating with other to address climate change.

City of Ottawa Climate Change Initiatives [ 370 KB ]

Interested in finding out more?

Subscribe to the Climate Change e-newsletter

Invite the Climate Change and Resiliency team to speak to your community group or organization. All presentations are subject to audience size and team availability. Contact Emma Langham, Outreach and Communications Coordinator.  

Climate Change Master Plan

The Climate Change Master Plan is the City’s overarching framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and respond to the current and future effects of climate change.

The plan aims to take unprecedented collective action to transition Ottawa into a clean, renewable and resilient city by 2050. City Council has adopted short, mid, and long-term greenhouse gas reduction targets based on 2012 levels:

  • Reduce emissions from the community by:
    • 43 per cent by 2025
    • 68 per cent by 2030
    • 96 per cent by 2040
    • 100 per cent by 2050
  • Reduce emissions from City operations by:
    • 30 per cent by 2025
    • 50 per cent by 2030
    • 100 per cent by 2040

Guiding Principles

The Climate Change Master Plan is guided by the following principles:

  • Responsibility - everyone has a responsibility to manage energy consumption and to mitigate risks
  • Collaboration – all levels of government, utilities, stakeholders, and the broader community must work together to effect change and develop joint solutions
  • Municipal leadership – the City needs to take a lead role to ensure an integrated and comprehensive approach across the corporation and the community
  • Coordination – all the City’s long-term plans need to be coordinated to ensure a strategic and harmonized approach
  • Equity and inclusion – all decision-making processes must incorporate equity and inclusion considerations

Priority Actions

The Climate Change Master Plan identifies eight priority actions for the next five years (2020-2025):

  1. Implement Energy Evolution
  2. Undertake a climate vulnerability assessment and develop a climate resiliency strategy
  3. Apply a climate lens to the new Official Plan and its supporting documents
  4. Apply a climate lens to asset management and capital projects
  5. Explore and pilot corporate carbon budgets
  6. Explore carbon sequestration methods and the role of green infrastructure
  7. Encourage community action though education, incentives, support and advocacy to senior levels of government
  8. Develop a governance framework to coordinate stakeholder efforts and mobilize the community

Reporting

Staff provide an annual status update on corporate and community greenhouse gas emissions, progress towards the targets and the eight priority actions to the Standing Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management.

Staff will develop key performance indicators to further track progress being made to achieve Ottawa’s greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Climate Change Master Plan [ 588 KB ]

Ottawa’s greenhouse gas emissions

Every year the City tracks the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by activities within Ottawa's boundaries and from municipal operations. Everyday activities such as heating our homes, moving around the city and treating our solid waste and wastewater can all contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

The City undertakes two types of greenhouse gas emission inventories:

  • Community inventories – emissions associated with people who live within the city of Ottawa. Includes emissions from buildings, transportation, waste and agriculture.
  • Corporate inventories – emissions associated with the City’s operations. Includes emissions from facilities, fleet, solid waste and wastewater treatment.

Community Emissions

Pie chart breaking down community greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 by sector.

2020 community greenhouse gas emissions by sector:

  • Agriculture – 3 per cent
  • Buildings – 46 per cent
  • Transportation – 42 per cent
  • Waste – 9 per cent
Pie chart breaking down community greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 by source.

2020 community greenhouse gas emissions by source:

  • Agriculture – 3 per cent
  • Electricity – 4 per cent
  • Natural gas – 38 per cent
  • Propane – 2 per cent
  • Heating oil – 1 per cent
  • Wood – 1 per cent
  • Gasoline – 21 per cent
  • Diesel – 12 per cent
  • Aviation fuel – 9 per cent
  • Waste – 9 per cent

Corporate emissions

Pie chart breaking down corporate greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 by sector

2020 corporate greenhouse gas emissions by sector:

  • Wastewater treatment – 6 per cent
  • Facilities – 22 per cent
  • Transit fleet – 44 per cent
  • Municipal fleet – 13 per cent
  • Police fleet – 2 per cent
  • Solid waste – 13 per cent
Pie chart breaking down corporate greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 by source

2020 corporate greenhouse gas emissions by source:

  • Wastewater treatment – 6 per cent
  • Electricity – 4 per cent
  • Natural gas – 18 per cent
  • Gasoline – 8 per cent
  • Diesel – 51 per cent
  • Solid waste – 13 per cent

Key findings from the 2020 emissions inventories

Community emissions:

  • Community emissions decreased 15 per cent between 2012 and 2020. In order to meet Ottawa’s short and mid-term targets, the community will need to reduce emissions by five to six per cent a year over the next five to ten years.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic played a significant role in reducing emissions, including a 30 per cent drop in gasoline use between 2019 and 2020.
  • Roughly 90 per cent of community emissions come from the building and transportation sectors, with the other 10 per cent coming from waste and agriculture sectors.
  • Natural gas consumption was the largest source of community emissions, accounting for 38 per cent. Gasoline contributed 21 per cent and diesel 12 per cent.

Corporate emissions:

  • Corporate emissions decreased 43 per cent between 2012 and 2020. This puts the City ahead of its short-term target to reduce emissions 30 per cent below 2012 baseline by 2025. The decrease is mostly due to landfill gas capture efficiencies at the Trail Road Waste Facility.
  • Transit fleet was the largest emitting sector, accounting for 44 per cent of total corporate emissions.
  • Diesel consumption was the largest source of emissions, accounting for 51 per cent of total corporate emissions.

Read more about Ottawa’s greenhouse gas emission inventories:

For more information, please contact climatechange@ottawa.ca

LED Streetlight Conversion Project

The City of Ottawa is dedicated to innovation and efficient energy use. One of the strategic initiatives of the 2015-2018 City Strategic Plan is the Energy Management and Investment Strategy. A component to this strategy’s success is to significantly reduce the electrical consumption of the City’s streetlighting network within the strategy’s timeframe.

The Transportation Department is working to meet this goal through the conversion of its street lighting network to Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology. Recent advances in LED technology have made it an attractive replacement to traditional lighting fixtures. On October 14, 2015, the City entered into a partnership with Energy Ottawa, a subsidiary of Hydro Ottawa, who will be completing the conversion. Energy Ottawa will be installing LED lighting and will carry out all on-going maintenance of LED streetlights over the next four years.

The City of Ottawa currently has over 68,000 streetlights made up of either High Pressure Sodium (HPS) or Metal Halide (MH) fixtures. These fixtures account for 17% of the City’s electrical use and cost $7.2 million in annual electricity costs (2014 figures). Streetlight fixtures with the highest energy consumption or highest wattage will be those first converted to LED, decorative light fixtures will not be converted as a part of the project as these are low wattage and therefore do not consume significant amounts of energy. The LED conversion project is city-wide and by the end of the project, up to 58,000 fixtures will be converted to LED.

LED Benefits:

Extensive improvements in efficiency, output, and costs of LED make the technology an attractive replacement to our existing equipment. The conversion is estimated to reduce energy consumption by over 50%. In addition to energy reduction, LED offers the following benefits:

  • Lower maintenance costs: The typical fixtures have life spans ranging from approximately 12,000-18,000 hours. The typical LED life span can range from 50,000 hours up to 100,000 hours.
  • More efficient maintenance: LED fixtures will include sensors which generate automatic notifications when a streetlight fixture has failed. This will reduce the down time of fixtures as well as the number of calls received by residents.
  • Improved monitoring: Automated controls have the ability to record utility consumption data and allow for billing based on actual usage.
  • Greater control: The light output of the LED fixtures can be adjusted throughout their life span, allowing for a more consistent light output, and prolonged life expectancy. A reduction of both up-light and trespass light makes LED more “dark skies friendly”.
  • Better quality light: LED technology provides light which is more equivalent to sunlight than conventional fixtures, improving visibility for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

For Special Consideration:

The City of Ottawa is committed to the responsible implementation of LED roadway lighting technology by ensuring that all street lighting designs adhere to the most current Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES)(link is external) and Transportation Association of Canada (TAC)(link is external) standards. To meet these standards, as a part of the conversion project, the City will use a control system that further ensures proper light levels on City streets to minimize any environmental impact.

Additionally, the LED fixtures installed as a part of the conversion project will have similar colour temperatures to existing lighting; new temperatures will not be introduced.  For instance:

  • The colour temperature on local residential and collector roads will be approximately 3000 Kelvin, which is similar to High Pressure Sodium (HPS) fixtures currently in use.
  • The colour temperature on non residential arterial roads will be 4000 Kelvin, similar to whiter light produced by existing Metal Halide (MH) fixtures.

LED streetlight technology focuses light on the roadway, which reduces light pollution including up light, back light and glare. Focused lighting contributes to energy savings through reduced light consumption.

The Right of Way Lighting Policy was updated in 2015 and now permits the use of light emitting diode (LED) technology for all City of Ottawa streetlighting infrastructure.