Minto's office tower at 180 Kent Street is chock full of environmentally-friendly features, enough to earn it top honours at the city's annual construction awards.

The 19-storey building was named Outstanding Building of the Year by Ottawa's chapter of the Building Owners and Management Association last week.

Minto executives said it's the building's cutting-edge green initiatives that won over the judges, like the rainwater collectors that boost water savings by 55 per cent.

"What this does is take the rainwater that collects on the roof, it goes into a large holding tank and then that water is used to flush the toilets down below in the building," said Oryst Deneka during a tour given to CTV Ottawa.

They credit a light monitoring system called Daylight Harvesting for cutting heating and lighting costs almost in half.

"So when the light comes in the window it hits the sensor and turns off the lights," said Greg Rogers. "When there's nobody here it senses that and also turns the light off."

They also said the elevators generate power of their own when they're moving down, with composting helping to divert 60 per cent of waste from landfills.

Employees in the building said they enjoy the green features of the building, which also includes a rooftop garden for taking breaks.

"The air quality is much better," said one, referring to a green wall with 6,000 plants. "There are pleasant sights to look at."

"We come and have our coffee breaks under the natural light, you feel like you're outside when you're not," said another.

Executives said these award-winning features are good for business.

"We were green before it was popular, so we do it in our residential components, our high-rises and we do it in commercial," Deneka said. "It's a smart business decision because so many of our clients demand it."

The building also earned Ottawa's first LEED Gold certification from Canada's Green Buildings Council.

It will vie for National Outstanding Building of the Year in September.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Carol Anne Meehan