Top Ten Highlights of Cleantech in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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Ottawa is the primary capital of the country of Canada. It is located in the province of Ontario and is the second largest city in the entire province and the fourth largest city in all of Canada. It is located along the Ontario – Quebec border. It is home to places like Center Block on Parliament Hill, the National War Memorial, National Gallery of Canada, as well as Chateau Laurier and Rideau Canal. Ottawa is also known for the large number of clean technology highlights, including initiatives in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Listed below are ten of the top highlights of this Canadian city.

1 ) The Westin Ottawa Goes Green. The Westin Hotel in Ottawa is one of the first to take the plunge and go green. This downtown Ottawa hotel is asking individuals to make a green choice and stay at their hotel. The hotel has a number of green initiatives, which helped it to win the 5 Green Key Award from the Hotel Association of Canada. For example, guests can decline daily housekeeping services to conserve natural resources and have their bill emailed to them rather than printed out on paper. The hotel also uses non-toxic cleaners, gets local food items when possible, there are occupancy sensor lighting throughout the hotel.

2 ) TELUS House Awarded with LEED Gold Certification. In September of 2010, TELUS House Ottawa was awarded LEED Gold Certification from the Canada Green Building Council. “This important ranking brings home to us all how we can make a real difference benefiting the environment,” said Darren Entwistle, TELUS President and CEO. “When we undertook this project just five years ago, the steps we took to reduce energy and water consumption were cutting-edge concepts. What we accomplished in Ottawa set the stage for taking an increasingly green approach to our buildings across Canada. We are striving for LEED Gold or better in new buildings, retrofitting and reprogramming our older buildings and making strides towards having 70 per cent of our 35,000 team members working from home at least part time within five years from today.” In the previous five years, the business has implemented a number of programs to promote green workplaces and teleworking to provide environmental benefits.

3 ) 275 Slater Street First Established Building to Receive LEED Certification. In December 2011, an office building located on 275 Slater Street belonging to Colonnade Management became the very first established building in the city of Ottawa to receive LEED-EB (Established Building) Silver Certification from the Canada Green Building Council. This building made a number of changes to reduce waste, save energy, conserve water, as well as restrict the utilization of hazardous chemicals. “This certification recognizes the commitment made by Colonnade Management and LaSalle to create a high performing, comfortable and healthy building,” said Greg Johnston, Vice President Property Management Colonnade Management. “We believe that this type of investment benefits not only today’s tenants but future generations as well.”

4 ) Ottawa Renewable Energy Cooperative Inc. Ottawa Renewable Energy Cooperative Inc. was established in 2010 by Sustainable Ottawa and was created “to allow residents in the City of Ottawa to jointly own and finance renewable energy generation projects in Ottawa, and earn a reasonable return while doing so.” This cooperative enters into lease agreements with property owners throughout the city to utilize their land or buildings to install renewable energy systems of all shapes and sizes that the cooperative will own.

5 ) Green Ottawa. Green Ottawa is a gateway to everything people need to know about going green. According to the website, “It’s a starting point for connection with green-minded people, places, organizations and opportunities across the region. Themes include environment, sustainability, conservation, stewardship, sustainable living and healthy, human-powered lifestyles.”

6 ) Sustainable Ottawa. Sustainable Ottawa is a nonprofit organization with a mission “to make sustainable technologies, products and services more accessible and economically viable to people within the NCR.” The vision is to promote renewable energy technologies that are financially, socially, and environmentally sustainable. Some of the goals include the promotion of innovation in sustainable energy technologies, increasing awareness and accessibility of sustainable energy technologies, and partnering with other companies, organizations, and government agencies to create a number of projects that will line up with the vision of the organization.

7 ) Energy Ottawa Turns Waste and Water to Energy. Energy Ottawa generates environmentally friendly and renewable and reliable energy from a number of waterways and landfills. Currently, Energy Ottawa owns and operates three hydroelectric generating stations provides the environmental benefits of hydro-electricity production, including reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and zero waste. As well, in 2007, Energy Ottawa started operations at the Trail Road landfill gas generation site which converts methane gas into electricity, providing enough energy to power approximately five-thousand homes annually.

8 ) Ottawa to Provide Farmers with Financing for Renewable Energy. Starting in February of 2010, Ottawa started to provide a brand new loan program for local agribusiness operators and agriculture producers who are looking to create their own renewable energy. Provided by Farm Credit Canada, this financing will aid those interested in the purchase and installation of on-farm energy sources, such as geo-thermal biogas, solar, and wind. It goes in line with a survey taken demonstrating that approximately 60 percent of all farmers are looking to find new ways to gain financial value while reducing overall environmental impact.

9 ) Carleton University Green Report Card. Every year the Sustainable Endowments Institute publishes their Green Report Card for universities throughout the United States and Canada. In 2011, Carleton University in Ottawa was one of the participants. The university mustered up a C+ for its efforts in climate change and energy, food and recycling, green building, student involvement, transportation, and a number of other categories. The university received an A in transportation because of its free pass system for public transportation given to students, as well as a free bike sharing problem and car sharing program. The campus fleet is made up of 70 percent electric vehicles.

10 ) Algonquin University Joins up Team Ontario for United States Solar Decathlon. In February of 2012, students from Ottawa-based Algonquin University joined up with other students from academic learning institutions located throughout Ontario to participate in the 2013 Solar Decathlon Competition created by the United States Department of Energy. This competition will challenge the team to design, build, and then operate a solar powered house that is energy efficient, cost effective, and of course, attractive as well. Students will have 18 months to create them before having to disassemble them and take them to the competition location in Irvine, California. Houses are judged on market appeal, architecture, engineering, affordability, energy balance, hot water, comfort, home entertainment, and appliances.

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He is also author of The 2012 Cleantech Directory. He can be reached at shawn@watershedcapital.com.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.