Toronto adopts mandatory green roof requirements

August 11, 2010

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities has announced that the city of Toronto has passed a new green roof by-law with overwhelming support yesterday. The green roof by-law consists of a green roof construction standard and a mandatory requirement for green roofs on all classes of new buildings. The by-law requires up to 50% green roof coverage on multi-unit residential dwellings over six stories, schools, non-profit housing, and commercial and industrial buildings. Larger residential projects require greater green roof coverage, ranging anywhere from 20-50% of the roof area.

"The city of Toronto's leadership on all things green took another major step by making it obligatory to have green roofs for all types of new buildings," said Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, the primary champion of the new by-law. "This bylaw is a major part of the solution to climate change, the creation of green jobs, and it represents a whole new mindset on how our cities approach the 20% or so of surface area that are roofs."  

"Toronto's by-law provides a new opportunity to strengthen the emerging practice of integrated green building design," said Steven W. Peck, president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, which supported the by-law against pressure from developers opposed to the policy. "The by-law breaks new ground on how to structure a mandatory green roof requirement and the construction standard also contains important best practices that may prove to be a model for other cities."

Chicago remains the city with the largest number of green roofs installed, according to GHRC's Annual Green Roof Industry Survey released last week. The mandatory by-law in Toronto may change that, resulting in approximately 50 to 75 new projects annually.

Toronto already requires green roofs on city-owned properties, has established a financial incentive of up to $5 per square foot for existing buildings, and is currently building a publicly accessible green roof on its city hall. The project will be unveiled at CitiesAlive!, the first international green roof congress to be held October 19-22, 2009 with a focus on addressing climate change. See www.citiesalive.org for details.

         
 

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