Did you know Toronto is the first City in North America to have a bylaw to require and govern the construction of green roofs on new developments? Yep, cool stuff! It was adopted by City Council back in May of 2009, under the authority of the City of Toronto Act.
The Bylaw only applies to new building permit applications for residential, commercial and institutional development made after January 31, 2010 and to new industrial development after April 30, 2012. Residential buildings less than 6 storeys or 20m in height are exempt from being required to have a green roof.
- Builders of new commercial, institutional and residential development with a minimum Gross Floor Area of 2,000m2.
- The green roof coverage requirement is graduated, depending on the size of the building.
The table below shows how the requirement ranges from 20-60 per cent of Available Roof Space for commercial, institutional and residential development.
|Gross Floor Area * (Size of Building)||Coverage of Available Roof Space|
|2,000 - 4,999 m2||20%|
|20,000 m2 or greater||60%|
Though the benefits are fairly well documented (click here for full report), they have not been calculated on a citywide basis. In the context of an urban setting however, benefits include:
- Reduction in storm-water runoff that affects the quality of local water resources that supply drinking water; are used
swimming; and serve as fish and wildlife habitat
- Reduction in energy consumption
- Beautification of the City
- Creation of more natural green spaces
- Opportunities for local food production
- Infrastructure savings worth between $2.8 and $79 million
- Erosion control measures savings worth $25 million
- Pollution control cost avoidance worth $14 million
- Potential to reduce local ambient temperature from 0.5 to 2 degrees Celsius
- Citywide savings from reduced energy for cooling of $12 million, equivalent to 2.37 kWh/m2 per year
- Cost savings that stem from reduced demand at peak times of $80 million
- Reduction in the urban heat island effect and associated cooling costs
- 3 additional “beach open” days per year worth $750,000
- Energy savings from better solar reflectivity, evapotranspiration and insulation
- Green roofs last up to twice as long as regular roofs
- Green roofs can beautify and add value to Toronto’s buildings by providing scenic views and recreational areas in dense urban areas
You can delve a little deeper by visiting the City Planning section of the Municipality’s web portal HERE. As always, feel free to call or send me a quick email with any of your real estate or mortgage financing questions. Talk soon!