City of Toronto leads North America with new Green Roof Policy

“Green Roofs for Healthy Cities congratulates Mayor David Miller and Toronto City Council for adopting the first comprehensive set of green roof policies in North America,” said Steven W. Peck, Founder and President of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, a Toronto-based non-profit green roof industry association. “These policies set the stage for a public-private partnership that will result in significant improvements to the quality of life in Toronto, reduce energy consumption and smog.”

Toronto City Council approved Making Green Roofs Happen, its green roofs strategy which includes commitments to install green roof infrastructure on new and existing buildings, and recommends the establishment of pilot programs of financial incentives for privately owned green roofs. City officials will be working with officials at Toronto Hydro and the Toronto Atmospheric Fund to develop programs that recognize the significant energy, air quality and climate change benefits of widespread green roof implementation.

Mayor David Miller said, “This is a perfect example of how we expect the new City of Toronto Act will help us govern in the best interest of Torontonians. Given the power to regulate green roofs in our city, we can work with residents to implement major initiatives that will make our city cleaner, healthier and more beautiful.”

Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone and Chair of the City’s Environmental Round Table said, “Torontonians have asked us to do more to promote green roofs. In response, the City has approved a comprehensive approach – from establishing standards and building our capacity to support Green Roofs at the City level, to offering education, funding, expert advice and promotion.”

The City recently commissioned a multi-disciplinary green roof benefits study by Ryerson University. Researchers found that an eight-percent coverage of existing rooftops with extensive green roofs would generate over $300 million in initial cost savings in areas such as storm water management, combined sewer overflow reduction, building energy savings, and the urban heat island reductions. Operational cost savings for the city from this level of coverage were calculated at approximately $40 million per year.

Green roofs infrastructure are proven technologies that utilize high quality waterproofing, root repellency and drainage systems, and lightweight growing media to grow plants on roofs.