UK Unveils World's Greenest Diplomatic Building in Ottawa

  • Staff moved into the newly built office at 140 Sussex Drive last week
  • The building reaffirms the UK's commitment to environmental sustainability with LEED classification credentials built into the construction
  • Algonquin Anishinaabe Elder, Claudette Commanda officially opened the building with a blessing ceremony, alongside British High Commissioner to Canada, Susannah Goshko.

British High Commission staff in Ottawa relocated to their new office at 140 Sussex Drive last week. The new High Commission is located within the Earnscliffe National Historic Site which has been the official residence for British High Commissioners for over 90 years.

At a ceremony held today, British High Commissioner Susannah Goshko was joined by Claudette Commanda, an Algonquin Anishinaabe Elder from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation who performed a blessing ceremony to officially open the new office.

The new High Commission is on track to be the greenest building in the UK's diplomatic network, targeting LEED Gold Status (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. It is testament to the UK delivering on its Net Zero transition goal of 2050, with the environment a key element of Britain's domestic and foreign policy.

The new location on Sussex Drive opposite Global Affairs Canada is a physical demonstration of the close relationship between the UK and Canada, and our commitment to working together on some of the most pressing global issues of today.

Susannah Goshko, British High Commissioner to Canada said;

Our new High Commission, located within the historic grounds of Earnscliffe, not only reinforces our shared history with Canada but also represents a significant investment in the modern UK-Canada bilateral relationship.

The greenest building in our diplomatic network, it is a great demonstration of our shared commitment to environmental sustainability.

The High Commission team and I look forward to welcoming visitors into our new space and to delivering for the UK-Canada relationship.

UK Minister for the Americas, Caribbean and the Overseas Territories David Rutley said: 

The UK and Canada are the closest of partners and friends, working shoulder to shoulder on the most pressing global challenges, from tackling climate change to challenging hostile state activity.

Our new High Commission building sits on a historic site opposite Global Affairs Canada, reinforcing this close bond between our countries and is set to be the greenest building within our diplomatic network.

Green credentials of the new building include diverting 98% of construction waste away from landfill, and incorporating wood salvaged from the Ottawa River and stone from the original residence coach house into the new design. The office aims to be economically sustainable by operating at a lower cost thanks to its energy efficiency rating which is currently on track to perform at 18% above the baseline average.

Water consumption will also be reduced thanks to environmental features being incorporated into the landscape design, including native and drought resistant vegetation that mitigates the need for irrigation. Low flow plumbing fixtures throughout the building also aim to reduce annual water consumption by between 25% - 30% above the baseline average.

Modern construction material will create a healthier and more conducive work environment for High Commission staff, this includes high-albedo roofing materials that will mitigate urban heat-island effects and low VOC (volatile organic compounds) furnishings that provide a healthier environment for staff and visitors.

The British High Commission at 80 Elgin Street was constructed in 1962 and served as the first official offices for the UK High Commission in Canada for over 60 years. In 2022 it was purchased by the National Capital Commission following a decision to construct a new High Commission in the grounds of Earnscliffe as the previous office no longer met the modern needs of our team in Ottawa.


  • LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the world's most widely used green building rating system. LEED certification provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings, which offer environmental, social and governance benefits. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.
  • Full LEED certification will be given at a later date in 2024.
  • Construction of the new High Commission has diverted 98% of total construction waste from the landfill, exceeding the baseline target of 75%.
  • Energy performance LEED credit requires a minimum of 5% improvement over the baseline. The office is modelled to achieve 18% improvement over the baseline.
  • The original offices at 80 Elgin Street were sold to the National Capital Commission in 2021.
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