On the road to a greener future
As part of Hydro Ottawa’s strategic focus of corporate citizenship, we are making important contributions to environmental sustainability in:
- Our company, by reducing our own impact on the environment and improving our environmental performance through our Environmental Sustainability Strategy;
- Our community, by actively promoting and educating our customers and community about electricity conservation, and by introducing and implementing programs to reduce electricity consumption; and,
- Our province, Ontario, as well as our neighbouring province of Quebec, by generating renewable energy. With the acquisition of additional hydroelectric stations on the Ottawa River in 2012 and the completion of construction of a second landfill-gas-to-energy facility at Moose Creek, Hydro Ottawa has more than doubled its green generation capacity to upwards of 320,000 megawatts hours per year, which is enough to power 38,000 homes.
In 2013, Hydro Ottawa released its first ever Corporate Social Responsibility report, which provides for all our stakeholders a comprehensive overview of Hydro Ottawa’s successes in corporate social responsibility.
Environmental Sustainability Strategy
As a company that is generating renewable energy and actively promoting energy conservation in our community, we think it’s important to “practice what we preach” by carefully managing our own impacts on the environment. We accomplish this through the use of "green" technology, resource-conserving activities and practices, and by maintaining a certified International ISO 14001 environmental management system. This system has been in place since 2004, and is audited annually to ensure conformance.
Hydro Ottawa’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy has been recognized as an industry success by the Canadian Electricity Association in their 2009 and 2010 Sustainable Electricity Program Annual Reports. Hydro Ottawa has also been recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers for the last four years.
Our Environmental Sustainability Strategy was developed in 2009 with the aim to reduce the impact of the organization’s operations on the environment and the community, as well as improve the organization’s environmental performance. It is organized according to three priority areas with specific initiatives in support of each priority.
Priority Area 1: Carbon Footprint Reduction
Fleet - We continue to make our vehicle fleet greener, and to reduce operating costs through lower fuel consumption. Our green fleet currently consists of two plug-in Chevy Volts, two hybrid cars, seven hybrid trucks, 50 flex-fuel vehicles, eight vehicles with battery technology, one full hybrid bucket truck and four bucket trucks with hybrid technology. To reduce the need to run vehicle engines, we incorporated hybrid technology to operate aerial devices in bucket trucks, and battery technology to eliminate idling for heating and lighting in our entire fleet of vans. Thirteen aerial devices have also been converted to Biopure Biodegradable Oil, which is non-toxic, metal free and biodegradable.
Facilities - We are making our facilities more energy efficient by implementing recommendations from energy audits. In 2013, we installed building automation systems, upgraded lighting and insulation, and replaced windows at all substations where such changes could be made.
Technology Infrastructure - We developed a comprehensive strategy to rationalize Hydro Ottawa’s printing service, which will result in the acquisition of new energy efficient printers with scan/email capability. This will translate into savings in both energy and paper consumption. In addition, we have been gradually reducing the impact of our information technology platforms in a number of ways, including:
- a server virtualization and consolidation program resulting in electricity and CO2 emission reductions;
- power management settings and double-sided printing defaults for all devices;
- a Storage Area Network Program that has the capability to store a higher density of information on one server, which means fewer servers are required for the same amount of information; and
- a virtual workstation pilot that provides the same service virtually for multiple users versus the typical arrangement of one physical workstation per user.
Non-Hazardous Waste and Management Recycling - Hydro Ottawa continues the tracking of all solid and liquid non-hazardous wastes. We have consistently achieved a waste diversion rate of above 90%.
Priority Area 2: Greening Procurement and the Supply Chain
Buying greener products and services presents another opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of Hydro Ottawa’s operations. In 2013, we purchased 35% of our goods and services locally. Hydro Ottawa’s green procurement practices were highlighted in the Canadian Electricity Association’s 2013 Sustainable Electricity Annual Report.
Priority Area 3: Building a Culture of Environmental Sustainability
Our internal conservation efforts have been integrated with our extensive conservation efforts in the community, encouraging our employees to conserve, reduce, re-use, and recycle in the same way that we encourage our customers.