Better Buildings Ottawa

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What is the Better Buildings Ottawa Strategy?

The Better Buildings Ottawa Strategy was approved by City Council in October 2021. This strategy identifies how to encourage and support deep greenhouse gas reducing retrofits in commercial, institutional, and industrial buildings as well as large multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs). This includes all buildings in Part 3 of the Ontario Building Code, excluding those owned or operated by the City since they are dealt with under a separate Municipal Building Retrofit strategy.

The Better Buildings Ottawa Strategy is made up of several key components.

  • Benchmarking and auditing
  • Marketing, education, and training
  • Economic tools and coordination
  • Regulating disclosure, energy audits, and emissions performance
  • Senior government engagement

City Council has directed the development of energy disclosure and performance bylaws. This is following a similar course of direction to Vancouver in 2019 and Toronto in 2020. The Better Buildings Ottawa Strategy will seek to prepare building operators for these regulatory changes and support them in undertaking energy efficiency measures in a cost-effective manner.

If you would like to receive updates on the Better Buildings Ottawa Strategy, subscribe to the Better Buildings e-newsletter.

Why is building energy efficiency important?

Existing buildings are the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Ottawa. In 2020, industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings contributed 22 per cent of Ottawa’s greenhouse gas emissions. Most of these emissions are from space heating.

To meet our target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, 95 per cent of commercial and industrial, as well as large residential buildings, must reduce energy for heating use by 70 per cent and for electricity use by 30 per cent by 2040.

Graph outlining different levels of Natural Gas, Electricity, Propane, Fuel Oil and Diesel

An energy-efficient building is healthier to work or live in, more valuable, more resilient and reduces money spent on energy, and energy used. Building energy retrofits also create good, local, green jobs. A study by Toronto-based non-profit The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) also found that energy-efficient buildings have lower tenant turnover and vacancy rates, increased property value, and reduced insurance cost premiums.

Interactive map – Open-loop geothermal resource potential

In 2021, the City worked with J.L. Richards and Associates to perform a preliminary study of the open-loop geothermal resource potential within Ottawa. 

It is important to note that this study only looked at open-loop geothermal resource potential. Most areas in Ottawa have a strong closed-loop geothermal resource potential.

The interactive map shows the open-loop geothermal resource potential within Ottawa.  

More detail can be found in the Open Loop Geothermal Resource Scoping Study [ PDF 3.575 MB ]

Tips for using the interactive mapping feature: 

  • To view a specific address, use the search box in the upper right-hand corner of the screen 
  • Clicking on the +/- symbols or using the scroll button on your mouse also allows users to zoom in and out. 
  • To pan, click on the map and hold while moving the mouse in the desired direction. 
  • This application works best in the Google Chrome web browser.