Programs for Residents

Eco-Roof Incentive Program

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Grants for green and cool roofs

Since 2009, the City's Eco-Roof Incentive Program has helped fund the installation of more than 250 green and cool roofs on buildings across the city.

Eligible green roof projects will receive $100 / m2 to a maximum of $100,000*. 

Eligible cool roof projects will receive $2 - 5 / m2 to a maximum of $50,000*.

*Please note: Green roof projects greater than $100,000 and cool roof projects greater than $50,000 may be eligible for funding in excess of the funding maximum, subject to Council approval.

Applications are currently being accepted. You must submit your application before work on the roof starts.

What's new for 2017

Green roof updates

Incentive increased: The green roof incentive has increased to $100 / m2. 

Structural Assessment Grants offered: Funding is now available to help determine whether an existing building can carry the additional load of a green roof.

Not-for-profit corporations: All new construction projects by not-for-profit corporations are eligible for green roof incentives.

Cool roof updates

Partial cool roof retrofits are now eligible. You can meet our 100% coverage requirement over time or all at once. 

New buildings eligible: Cool roof projects on new buildings with a gross floor area of less than 2000 m2 are now eligible.

Eco-roof overview

  

What is an eco-roof?

An eco-roof may be either a green roof that supports vegetation, or a cool roof that reflects the sun’s thermal energy.

A green roof is a roof surface that supports the growth of vegetation over a substantial portion of its area for the purpose of water and energy conservation. It is comprised of a waterproofing membrane, drainage layer, organic growing medium (soil) and vegetation.

green roofgreen roof

 

A cool roof is a roofing system with an exterior surface with high “solar reflectivity” and “thermal emissivity” that reflects the sun’s rays and reduces heat build-up from the sun’s thermal energy. A cool roof can be either a coating applied over an existing roof system or a new single-ply waterproofing membrane.

cool roofcool roof

 

What are the environmental benefits of eco-roofs?

The environmental benefits of eco-roofs are many. Green and cool roofs help reduce urban heat and associated energy use, which is a particular concern as global temperatures rise. Green roofs also help manage stormwater runoff (reducing the pollutants that enter our waterways), enhance biodiversity, improve air quality, and beautify our city.

Adopted by City Council in 2009, the Eco-Roof Incentive Program is a key element of the City’s Climate Change Action Plan, an aggressive environmental framework aimed at reducing Toronto’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

Eligibility

  

What buildings are eligible?

The Eco-Roof Incentive Program provides green roof and cool roof funding for existing buildings, and new buildings with a gross floor area of less than 2000 m2.

Green roof funding is also available to all new School Board buildings and all new construction projects by organizations incorporated as not-for-profit corporations.

Buildings must be located in the city of Toronto. 

Specific requirements for green roof and cool roof projects are provided below.

What cool roof projects are eligible?

cool roof

Cool Roof Description: 

A roofing system with high solar reflectivity and thermal emissivity to reduce the urban heat island effect and can be either a coating over an existing roof or a new membrane that meets the performance specifications outlined below. Solar reflectance and thermal emittance are the two radiative properties used to measure the "coolness" of a roof. 

Cool Roof Incentive Offered:

  • $5 / m2 for a cool roof with a new membrane or $2 / m2 for a cool roof coating over an existing roof
  • Funding requests greater than $50,000 are subject to Council approval. 

Project Type:

The Eco-Roof Incentive Program provides funds for cool roof projects on:

  • existing residential,  industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings
  • new residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional  buildings with a gross floor area of less than 2,000 m2

Roof Material:

 A cool roof must meet the following specifications depending on the slope of the roof.

a) Low slope (flat) = surface slope less than 16.7% or 9.5 degrees.

Must be comprised of a roof material or coating system that:

    • has a minimum Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) rating of 78.
    • has an emissivity greater than 0.9
    • is asbestos and mercury-free and emits zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ozone depleting substances (ODSs)

b) Steep slope (pitched) = surface slope greater than 16.7% or 9.5 degrees.

Must be comprised of a roof material or coating system that:

    • has a minimum Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) rating of 29.
    • has an emissivity greater than 0.9
    • is asbestos and mercury-free and emits zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ozone depleting substances (ODSs)

Coverage Requirements:

Partial roof retrofits and full roof replacements are eligible. The goal is to have 100% of the roof area of the building covered as a cool roof. This can be achieved via multiple partial roof retrofits over time, or a one time full coverage replacement.

a) Partial roof retrofit -  If a partial roof retrofit is being proposed, a letter from the property owner must be provided stating their intention to complete future roof replacements as an eco-roof surface that meets program requirements. 

b) Full roof retrofit - If a full roof retrofit is being proposed the roof must cover 100% of available roof space (excluding mechanical equipment or other environmental technologies).

Funding Requests over $50,000:

Proposed cool roofs with a funding request greater than $50,000 are subject to Council approval. 

What green roof projects are eligible?

green roofGreen Roof Definition:

An extension of an above grade roof, built on top of a human-made structure, that allows vegetation to grow in a growing medium and which is designed and maintained in accordance with the Toronto Green Roof Construction Standard (Toronto BY-law 583-2009).

Green Roof Incentive Offered:

  • $100 per m2 of green roof provided.
  • Funding requests greater than $100,000 are subject to Council approval. 

 Project Type:

The Eco-Roof Incentive Program provides funds for green roof projects on:

  • existing residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings
  • new residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings with a gross floor area of less than 2,000 m2
  • new and existing Toronto Public and Separate School Board buildings of any size
  • all new construction projects by organizations incorporated as not-for-profit corporations

Construction Requirements:

To be eligible for the Eco-Roof Incentive Program, a Green Roof must be designed and constructed in conformance with the requirements of the Toronto Green Roof Construction Standard.

Coverage Requirements:

A green roof will have minimum coverage of available roof space in accordance with the following chart:

Gross Floor Area*
(Size of Building)
Minimum Coverage of Available Roof Space**
(Size of Green Roof)
Less than 4,999 m² 20%
5,000-9,999 m² 30%
10,000-14,999 m² 40%
15,000-19,999 m² 50%
20,000 m² or greater 60%

* Gross Floor Area - The total area of each floor level of a building, above and below average grade, measured from the exterior of the main wall of each floor level, including voids at the level of each floor, such as an atrium, mezzanine, stairwell, escalator, elevator, ventilation duct or utility shaft, but excluding areas used for the purpose of parking or loading.

** Available Roof Space is defined as the total roof area minus areas designated for renewable energy, private terraces and residential outdoor amenity space (to a maximum of 2 square metres/unit).

Funding Requests over $100,000:

Proposed green roofs with a funding request greater than $100,000 are subject to Council approval. 

Is my green roof project eligible for a Structural Assessment Grant?

Please read the guidelines below to determine if your green roof project is eligible for additional funding support. 

Structural Assessment Grant (SAG) Guidelines

Purpose: To help offset the cost of a structural assessment to determine whether or not an existing building can carry the additional load of a green roof.

Amount: The SAG amount is either the actual cost of the structural assessment or $1000, whichever is less.

Required documentation: To be considered for SAG funding, applicants planning to install a green roof must submit the following:

  • A copy of the structural assessment report that evaluates the ability of a building to hold the weight of a green roof that meets the requirements of the Greene Roof Construction Standards.
  • A copy of the paid invoice for the structural assessment

These two supporting documents must be submitted with Eco-Roof Incentive Program application before the green roof is installed.

Process if proceeding with green roof: After the green roof has been approved, completed and verified by City of Toronto program staff, the SAG amount will be added to the final green roof grant payment and dispersed as one total amount:

SAG amount + Green roof incentive amount = Total grant amount

Process if not proceeding with green roof: If the structural engineer determines that the building cannot support the additional load of a green roof, the applicant is not required to install a green roof, but is still eligible for SAG funding. The applicant will qualify for the SAG as long as the following documents are received:

  • A copy of the structural assessment report (the report must state that the building cannot support the additional load of a green roof)
  • A copy of the paid invoice for the structural assessment

Qualified professionals: Property owners may choose any structural engineer licensed to work in the Province of Ontario.

If you are interested in applying for SAG funding, please email the Eco-Roof Program Manager at Annemarie.Baynton@toronto.ca

Application Process

 

How do I apply for funding?

 

Please Note: Green and cool roof projects that have already started or are complete are not eligible for funding. You must receive approval of your application prior to the work on the roof commencing.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the Eco-Roof Program Coordinator in advance of their application to discuss their proposals (Annemarie Baynton: abaynto@toronto.ca or 416-392-1848).

What supporting documentation is required for green roof applications?

Green Roof applicants must also submit the following supporting documentation:

  • A photo of the roof prior to construction.
  • Detailed plans of the proposal showing percentage coverage, plant material and type of growing medium and construction details.

These items can up uploaded via the online form or emailed to abaynto@toronto.ca

The City reserves the right to request additional supporting documentation.

What supporting documentation is required for cool roof applications?

Cool Roof applicants must also submit the following supporting documentation:

  • A photo of the roof prior to construction.
  • A detailed roof plan showing the total size of the roof in square meters, total size of the cool roof portion.
  • Details on the cool roof materials and manufacturer documentation providing evidence that the product meets the minimum requirements (SRI, emissivity, etc).
  • A 5 year maintenance plan and contract or equivalent assurance that includes:
    • at minimum, an annual roof cleaning
    • an annual roof condition assessment and resulting maintenance; all subsequent roof maintenance must meet the cool roof specifications as outlined in the terms and conditions.
    • if applicable, re-coating of cool roof spray as per the life expectancy of the material or site conditions
    • the inclusion of all maintenance recommendations provided by the manufacturer or materials supplier.

These items can up uploaded via the online form or emailed to abaynto@toronto.ca

The City reserves the right to request additional supporting documentation demonstrating that the materials meet the above specifications.

How are applications assessed and approved?

    • Applications will be reviewed on a monthly basis.
    • Applicants will be notified of their application status within six weeks of requesting a grant.
    • Application approval is subject to funding availability.
    • Cool roof applications greater than $50,000 and green roof applications greater than $100,000 are subject to Council approval.
    • Green and cool roof projects that have already started or are complete are not eligible for funding.
    • Projects must be completed within six months of the application date.
    • Funding recipients will be selected based on the eligibility criteria.
    • Applications will be reviewed by an independent Review Committee, comprised of staff from the Environment and Energy Office, City Planning, Toronto Building and Toronto Water.

When will the grant payment be issued?

The City will issue payment upon completion of the project provided that:

  1.  A complete and compliant Program application has been approved.
  2.  The installation is fully completed in accordance with all terms and conditions of this Program.
  3.  A permit has been obtained from the Chief Building Official in accordance with the requirements of the Green Roof Bylaw (for Green Roofs only).
  4.  The following documentation has been received by the City:
    • a letter of declaration from the roofing contractor verifying the installed Eco-Roof has been completed in accordance with the terms and conditions of this Program, and includes the final size of the eco-roof in square metres
    • photographs of the completed eco-roof
    • a final invoice stating the full cost of the installed eco-roof
    • an invoice or quote showing the cost associated with any maintenance plan proposed

 

Please note: The City may request an inspection of the eco-roof by City staff or its agent verifying the installed Eco-Roof has been completed in accordance with the terms and conditions of this Program.