Significant enhancements to achieve net-zero carbon are being made to the joint Ottawa Public Library (OPL)–Library and Archives Canada (LAC) facility, which will soon take shape in downtown Ottawa.

“As we know, tackling climate change requires a concerted effort and collaboration across all sectors and levels of government. Our Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada Joint facility will be an iconic part of our city and thanks to this Federal funding we are able to enhance the design to be a net-zero carbon facility,” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. “This supports Council’s ambitious targets to reduce our city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 100% by 2050 and is a great example of collaboration that helps us proactively manage climate impacts.

Prior to these changes, the building’s design already complied with the LEED Gold standard, an independent certification that takes into account ecological land and water use, energy efficiency, and sustainable materials.

New funding from the federal government will allow for:

  • upgrades to the building’s envelope and insulation;
  • triple-glazed windows;
  • solar panels on the rooftop and embedded in the facade;
  • additional sustainable materials; and
  • an indoor green wall.

These investments in a net-zero carbon facility will result in a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas intensity. This represents the equivalent of approximately 170 fewer metric tons of CO2 produced per year, or taking 37 passenger vehicles off the road.

Scheduled to open in late 2024, with an official opening in 2025, the OPL–LAC joint facility promises to be a cultural showplace for the country’s heritage, a meeting place for local residents and visitors alike, and a prime example of the Government’s commitment to building sustainable infrastructure.

“During the most comprehensive and extensive public engagement process we have taken to date, we heard loud and clear from our partners in the Indigenous community, our Ottawa Public Library customers, the broader community, and stakeholders at all levels that sustainability is key, and the Joint Facility should set the bar for other public libraries and institutions as well as for the broader development of Lebreton Flats,” said Councillor Matthew Luloff, chair of the Ottawa Public Library Board.

Construction of the OPL–LAC joint facility will begin in 2021.

The Government of Canada has committed an additional $34.5 million to this project, most notably for significant sustainability enhancements to the facility.

This is the second major sustainable infrastructure project for LAC. In 2022, it will open a new net-zero carbon preservation facility, which is currently under construction next to LAC’s existing Preservation Centre in Gatineau, Quebec.

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