Green Living in Ottawa By the Numbers

Here are a few statistics on green living that Stats Can collected for each of 27 Metropolitan areas in 2006 (the report on their survey, Households and the Environment, was just released July 11, 2007).

Where Ottawa-Gatineau Households were greener than average:

  • 65% of persons employed outside of the home in Ottawa-Gatineau used a motor-vehicle to commute to work. This is the second lowest-rate of motor-vehicle commuting in Canada with only Victoria, B.C. achieving the lower rate of 64% (the average across Canadian muncipalities was 74%). Between the colder and warmer months the percentage of persons commuting via motor-vehicle in Ottawa-Gatineau drops from 68% to 62%. However, Ottawa-Gatineau does much worse than average in terms of the distances traveled on motor-vehicle commutes with 30% of these commuters going a one-way distance of 30 km or more (Oshawa and Hamilton were the only municipalities to have higher percentages of motor-vehicle commuters going these distances).
  • 51 % of Ottawa-Gatineau households own a programmable thermostat, 90% of these households program the thermostat. Of this group, 73% lowered the temperature during nighttime hours. We did fairly well here with only 6 municipalities having higher rates of ownership of programmable thermostats and no other municipality having as high a percentage of people programming those thermostats.
  • 67% of Ottawa-Gatineau households use at least one energy-saving compact flourescent light bulb (just 1% below Sudbury, Abbotsford and Oshawa for the highest percentage).

Where Ottawa-Gatineau Households were as green as the next city:

  • 97% of Ottawa-Gatineau households with access to a recycling program used it. We were average here with 10 municipalities achieving higher proportions of recycling, including 7 that achieved rates of 99%: Kingston, Oshawa, Toronto, St. Catherines-Niagara, Abbotsford, Vancouver, and Victoria.
  • 58% of Ottawa-Gatineau households own a gas-powered lawnmower (which is about average across Canadian municipalities), and 30% own a gas-powered snowblower.
  • 81% of Ottawa-Gatineau households own or lease at least one motor-vehicle (again about average).

Where Ottawa-Gatineau households paled in comparison to other municipalities on the green scale:

  • 32% of households in Ottawa-Gatineau with a lawn or garden reported using pesticides, of these households 62% used them routinely (as in not just when a problem appeared). This puts Ottawa-Gatineau slightly above average for pesticide use. Not surprisingly, given their laws, Quebec households were the least likely to apply pesticides and in the Gatineau side of Ottawa-Gatineau only 22% of households with lawns or gardens applied pesticides.
  • 23% of Ottawa-Gatineau households compost. This puts Ottawa-Gatineau in the bottom half of Canadian Municipalities (the average percentage was 25), with 17 municipalities having much higher rates of composting including 68% of households in Halifax, 52% in St. John, and 53% in St. Catherines-Niagara.

A special thanks to Ecology Ottawa and their email updates for drawing my attention to this Statistics Canada publication.

2 thoughts on “Green Living in Ottawa By the Numbers

  • Interesting. Some municipalities have curbside composting and we don’t, so it’s not really surprising that we’re fairing poorly in that regards. Actually, 23% is alot with no municipal incentives at all.

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