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Energy Evolution

Energy Evolution: Ottawa’s Community Energy Transition Strategy

Energy Evolution [ PDF 12.813 MB ] is the action plan for how Ottawa will meet its targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2040 within the corporation, and by 2050 Ottawa-wide. Its vision is to transform Ottawa into a thriving city powered by clean, renewable energy.

Realizing Energy Evolution’s vision will require concerted efforts and collaboration across all sectors of the community.

Energy Evolution is one of eight priorities in the 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 events of climate change.

For a detailed overview of Energy Evolution watch the Energy Evolution Technical Briefing.

What will it take to achieve Ottawa’s emission reduction targets?

A technical model was used to determine what it will take to meet the greenhouse gas reduction targets. To achieve the targets, we need to:

  • Significantly reduce demand for energy
  • Phase out fossil fuels
  • Increase use of renewable resources

A total of 39 actions were modelled. Details on these actions and their relative greenhouse gas emissions are included in the document Modeling Ottawa’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions to 2050: Summary of Results [ PDF 715 KB ].

The five actions which will have the most significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions are:

  • Electrify personal vehicles
  • Retrofit existing residential buildings
  • Divert organic waste from landfill and create renewable natural gas
  • Retrofit existing commercial buildings
  • Transition to zero emission commercial fleets

Collectively, these five actions account for roughly 80 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions required.

Energy Evolution’s priority projects

Twenty projects have been identified over the next five years to accelerate action and investment towards achieving the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. These projects are summarized below.

Land use projects

Buildings projects

  • Existing buildings energy efficiency improvements – programs to accelerate and finance energy efficiency retrofits in residential and commercial buildings, such as the Better Homes Loan Program
  • City buildings – a renovation and retrofit program to achieve higher building energy performance improvements in City owned buildings and an update to the City’s Green Building Policy to align with the corporate GHG reduction targets.
  • Building heating – a strategy to address infrastructure and utility requirements for new ways of heating buildings
  • New buildings – a high performance development standard to improve building design and construction

Transportation projects

  • Electric vehicles – a strategy to enable and encourage personal and commercial electric vehicle adoption
  • City fleet vehicles – an updated plan to continue the conversion of City vehicles to hybrid and electric vehicles where possible
  • Zero emission transit – a program to transition buses to cleaner, non-polluting options
  • Sustainable transportation modes – strategies to reduce the reliance on personal vehicles by increasing the number of cycling, walking, and transit trips

Waste and renewable natural gas projects

  • Organic waste diversion – a strategy to divert organic waste from landfill to reduce the emissions from managing waste and enable renewable power generation
  • Renewable natural gas – a strategy to supply greenhouse gas neutral gas and other heating to the community

Electricity projects

  • Electricity resources – a strategy to develop local or regional renewable electricity supplies and advance zero-emission generation at the provincial level

Private action projects

  • Better Buildings Ottawa Network (formerly the Climate Ambassadors Network) – a program to engage businesses and organizations to meet long term greenhouse gas reduction targets
  • Public education and outreach – a program to engage residents in collective action to meet long term greenhouse gas reduction targets

Other projects

  • Fund the Evolution – to further assess potential sources of municipal funding to adequately fund Energy Evolution.

More information about the priority projects can be viewed in the following documents:

Benefits of Energy Evolution

Transitioning to low-carbon energy sources will:

  • Reduce the effects of climate change
  • Grow our local economy and create jobs
  • Improve public health
  • Improve social equity
  • Increase climate resiliency

Energy Evolution engagement opportunities

To find out more about upcoming engagement opportunities on Energy Evolution projects, visit Engage Ottawa.

Reports and reference documents

Energy Evolution Strategy

The final report for Energy Evolution Strategy was unanimously approved by Council on October 28, 2020. The Energy Evolution strategy includes:

  • What it will take to reduce emissions in Ottawa by 100 per cent by 2050
  • The benefits of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to a low carbon future
  • 20 community and municipal projects that have been identified to accelerate action and investment over the next five years (2020 – 2025)
  • The potential risks to implementation and how these risks will be mitigated

Download the strategy and supporting documents:

CityInSight Visualization Tool

CityInSight is a data visualization tool for the City’s Energy Evolution Strategy. You can use the tool to get a better understanding of the projected emissions for Ottawa, and you can manipulate certain variables for your own analysis and research.

The CityInSight tool forecasts potential energy use and related greenhouse gas emissions for the years between 2016 (baseline) and 2050, based on two scenarios:

  • Business as Planned scenario – looks at future energy and emissions in Ottawa if no additional action is taken beyond what is already underway or planned
  • 100 per cent scenario – looks at the actions and strategies required for Ottawa to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100 per cent by 2050 in keeping with the thresholds set by the Paris Climate Agreement.

More details on the underlying assumptions of these scenarios can be found in the Technical Report and the Data, Methods and Assumptions Manual. If you would like a copy of these reports please email

You can choose from seven different projections and compare the Business as Planned scenario to the 100 per cent scenario. The projections are:

  • Emissions
  • Energy Use
  • Passenger Transportation
  • Urban Form
  • Population and Employment
  • Energy Flow
  • Financials

You can manipulate a number of variables to assess the greenhouse gas emissions in Ottawa. These variables include:

  • Specific year between 2016 – 2050
  • A scenario, Business as Planned or 100 per cent
  • The seven projections

Check out CityInSight

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