Skip to main content

Feb 8th, 2023

Green Corner: OCH Aims to Build Better, more Sustainable Communities

Featured Image

Share this story

  • Email
  • Copy Link
  • Facebook
  • Twitter-X
  • LinkedIn

In alignment with the City of Ottawa’s Climate Change Master Plan, Ottawa Community Housing has signed on to the Race to Zero Pledge, with the ultimate goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.  After a thorough analysis of our activities, we have identified the over 27,000 tons of CO2e that OCH emits annually and the over 35,000 tons of CO2 that are emitted from our communities annually – together, that’s the equivalent of 13,000 cars annually. The goal? To reduce that number to zero.

How do we do that?

At OCH, we focus on three key areas;

  • Buildings,
  • Waste,
  • and Vehicles.

New Developments 

All new OCH builds are constructed using the gold standard of sustainable design. The goal – to build homes that are energy efficient, lasting and increase tenant comfort. Many new OCH homes produce as much energy as they consume, thanks to the addition of solar arrays on the roof, highly efficient heating and cooling systems and a move away from dependency on carbon-based heating systems such as natural gas.

Existing buildings 

Many of our buildings are older – which means they may need major upgrades. By working with partners and innovating new solutions – we have found solutions to address this issue while keeping tenants in the home.

One example of this is the Prefabricated Exterior Energy Retrofit project in Overbrook. The project was the first of its kind in Canada. It took four townhomes that were nearing the end of their lifecycle and gave them new life – while increasing tenant comfort.

A highly insulated and airtight shell was built and placed over the home’s roof and existing walls, right down to the foundation. A heating and cooling system with an electric heat pump was installed, making the homes energy-efficient and Greenhouse gas emission-free. Doors, windows and the roof were replaced. Finally, an array of solar panels were installed on the south-facing roof of the four townhomes. The solar panels will generate enough power annually to offset the consumption of the four homes – making them Net-Zero.


OCH works with tenants to reduce waste that goes into the landfill and increase the use of the Green Bin and recycling.

In 2022, we launched a pilot garbage room retrofit in four of our high-rise buildings. At the first property, we reduced waste that went into the landfill by 40 percent in the first few months of 2022, as a result of the retrofit and a tenant engagement campaign.


In 2012, OCH began the introduction of smart cars in the fleet to help to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.