The Ottawa Energy Collective is a vibrant, community-led project with the aim of reducing the impacts of climate change while grasping opportunities for leadership in the green economy. The collective has been working since 2017 to define and refine an Ottawa-based problem more precisely, create a collectively held theory of change, and develop a collective strategic action plan that will allow Canada’s Capital to reach its ambitious climate goals. Stages 1 & 2 of the program consisted of community and focus group events designed to inclusively pick a key issue and create a strategy, with performance indicators and evaluation measures. In 2020, after consultation with the Steering Committee and Leadership Committee, the Ottawa Energy Collective incorporated as its own non-profit entity.
The goal of reducing GHG emissions from buildings in Ottawa to net-zero by 2050 resulted from the aforementioned collaborative sessions. A focus on buildings responds to the 45% of GHG emissions in Ottawa that come from the heating and cooling of buildings. A specific focus on residential buildings, mainly existing buildings, reflects the fact that 70% of current building stock will still exist in 2050, and with more than 50% of building-related GHG emissions in Ottawa coming from residential space, results in 27.5% of all Ottawa emissions come from our living needs. OEC and the city also recognize the embodied energy cost associated with buildings that require strong standards for new building construction going forward.
Simply put, if Ottawa is going to meet its GHG reduction targets, deep retrofits will need to be done on a majority of homes in the city, but making that happen is a big task, and one resident can’t be expected to take that on without serious support. We believe that by focusing on this challenge as an opportunity to create a vibrant, rebuilt Ottawa that makes change easy and creates healthier, more equitable communities, we can cross sectors to achieve our goal.
Our Steering Committee
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Currently, Ottawa Energy Collective is a registered non-profit operating under a Board of Directors and Steering Committee – with a lot of overlap between these two groups. Members are key staff at the non-profit organizations listed under Steering Committee, above. A larger Leadership Committee also has input into what OEC does. The Leadership Committee meets less frequently, but contains a wider diversity of groups, including Hydro Ottawa, the City of Ottawa’s Energy Evolution program, Enbridge, Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative, and others. Finally, still more groups are part of the larger collective, participating and providing input when and where they can.