New Ottawa Congress Centre to Become a 'Green' Gem for Canada

    OTTAWA, June 16 /CNW Telbec/ - When it opens in 2011, the new Ottawa
Congress Centre will offer businesses, visitors and its staff an exceptional
environmentally healthy and "green" meeting facility. A major requirement of
the winning proposal to redevelop the convention centre is demonstrated
environmental leadership, which will count as a critical measure in the
selection of the proponent.
    Today the Honourable John Gerretsen, Minister of the Environment for the
province of Ontario, and the Honourable John Baird, Canada's Environment
Minister, joined Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien to announce their joint support
for a leading-edge green convention centre in the nation's capital. They also
issued a call for all future redevelopment projects in Canada to consider the
environment in every aspect of design, construction and operation.
    "Going green is the way of the future," said Minister Gerretsen "It's
vitally important for competing in the new economy of the twenty-first century
where high-skilled, high-paying jobs are based on leading-edge business
practices that protect our environment. The plan for the new Ottawa Congress
Centre is an excellent example of the kind of visionary thinking everyone
needs to be doing."
    A green convention facility will significantly reduce the environmental
impact on the downtown core by shrinking greenhouse gas emissions associated
with facility operations and energy use. The Board of the Ottawa Congress
Centre insisted on strong environmental performance and leadership because of
its location but also because of a commitment to doing what is right for the
future of the planet.
    "The new Ottawa Congress Centre will be a great example across Ontario
and Canada of a major project which is meeting the environmental challenge,"
said Minister Baird. "As Regional Minister for Ottawa and as Canada's
Environment Minister, I am pleased that the federal government has already
announced it is providing $50 million in support for this important fixture in
our great city. Ottawa will really be getting a 'two-for-one': a new Congress
Centre and an environmentally-friendly addition to our city."
    Considerable resourcefulness and creativity on green solutions are
expected to emerge in the proposals next month from Ellis Don and PCL
Constructors, both competing for the contract to redevelop the convention
facility. The result will mean that the new building will achieve
substantially better performance in energy efficiency, conservation and waste
reduction, indoor air quality and water efficiency than is currently available
in the existing facility. These efficiencies will in turn reduce operating
costs in a new facility.
    "The City of Ottawa is proud to partner with the governments of Ontario
and Canada and invest in such leadership in environmentally sustainable
redevelopment," said Mayor O'Brien. "We are particularly proud that our city
will be host to a new facility that sets a standard for new convention
facilities everywhere."
    Required in the proposals are solutions for energy efficiency and an
innovative design for ventilation and air management systems that recover
energy from stale air before it is exhausted from the building. Windows will
need to be double glazed, gas-filled, air tight and thermally insulated.
Mechanical devices and motor drives in the building will need to run at
variable speeds so that when they are not needed, devices are slowed down or
shut off.
    "The building will provide an extremely healthy environment for all who
enter it," said Jim Durrell, Chair of the Board of the Ottawa Congress Centre.
"It will be sealed up very well, without off-gas emissions from the building
materials associated with buildings of the past. These odours contain volatile
organic compounds which are not healthy for humans or the environment."
    The new facility is expected to use materials that are regionally
manufactured or recycled to contribute to the local economy but also avoid
pollution associated with transportation. The finishing products such as
carpets, millwork, and paints will be low in volatile compounds, and in the
summer, air will be pre-cooled as it enters the building, and pre-heated in
the winter.
    The proponents have been asked to come up with a solution for gathering
storm water to be recycled for toilet use and irrigation. The facility may
also have its own water filtration plant, again to reduce waste, re-use and
recycle. The roof top will have garden areas where for example, in time, herbs
can be grown, flash frozen, and used in the preparation of meals on an ongoing
basis. This will complement several major new innovations that will be
introduced in the commercial kitchen in order to reduce waste and
substantially improve energy efficiency.
    The OCC also intends to implement a comprehensive waste management
program, replete with advanced collection and sorting plans. Another feature
of the post-occupancy environmental plan is an advanced green housekeeping and
maintenance regime that will ensure that the building continues to operate in
a healthy and environmentally friendly way for all visitors, staff and
    In their work on the new convention facilities, proponents are encouraged
to come up with some of their own environmental innovations, but are required
to achieve LEED certification. LEED, which is administered in Canada by the
Canada Green Building Council, stands for Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design, and is North America's leading third party green
building rating system.
    "The Ottawa Congress Centre has always had an interest in environmental
leadership," said Patrick Kelly, President, Ottawa Congress Centre. "In 2008,
we became the first Canadian Founding Industry Partner of the Convene Green
Alliance. The Alliance is a grass-roots organization based in Washington DC
represented by numerous industry sectors concerned about the environment. As a
Founding Industry Member, we have joined other leading destinations and
multi-national hotel chains in shaping the future of green meetings while
people gather to exchange ideas. We are very proud to continue this commitment
in the new facility. "
    The Ottawa Congress Centre is an agency of the Government of Ontario.

For further information:

For further information: Kathryn Hendrick, (416) 277-6281,

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