Grants for Green and Cool Roofs

Grants are available to support the installation of green and cool roofs on Toronto homes and buildings.

Green roofs support the growth of vegetation and consists of a waterproofing membrane, drainage layer, organic growing medium (soil), and vegetation. Cool roofs reflect the sun’s rays and reduce heat build-up through a coating applied over an existing roof system, or a new single-ply waterproofing membrane.

Benefits of eco-roofs:

  • Save energy
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduce urban heat
  • Capture stormwater
  • Improve air quality
  • Create habitat for pollinators, birds and other wildlife
Green Roof Incentives
  • $100 / square metre installed
  • up to $1,000.00 for a structural assessment
Cool Roof Incentive
  • $2 to $5 / square metre

Eligible buildings

  • existing residential, industrial, commercial and institutional buildings in the city of Toronto
  • new residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings with a gross floor area of less than 2,000 m²
  • all new construction projects by Toronto School Boards and not-for-profit organizations

Grant applications must be approved prior to commencing any work on the roof.

Projects that have started, or are complete, are not eligible for funding.

Incentive

  • $100 per m2 of green roof

Funding requests greater than $100,000 are subject to approval by City Council

Green roofs on existing buildings are also eligible for a Structural Assessment Grant. See information below.

Design/Construction requirements

Green roofs must be designed and constructed in conformance with the Toronto Green Roof Construction Standard.

Coverage requirements

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 (all floors) of a building, above and below average grade, measured from the exterior 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 – The total roof area minus areas designated for renewable energy, private terraces, and residential outdoor amenities (to a maximum of 2 square metres per unit). 

Documentation requirements

Photo of the roof prior to construction (not applicable for new construction).

  1. Roof plan: A detailed drawing of the roof showing:
    • Total roof area in m2
    • Proposed green roof area in m2
    • Percentage green roof coverage
    • Total gross floor area of the building
  2. Green roof design plans showing:
    • plant material
    • type of growing medium
    • construction details
  3. Maintenance plan that addresses:
    • protection measures for vegetated areas from impact of foot traffic (i.e., minimizing potential for damage);
    • the amount, time and control of irrigation;
    • the amount, type and time of fertilizer application;
    • weed management, including how often, which weeds to remove;
    • replanting (if required);
    • periodic inspection of drains, edging, roof penetrations, flashings, non-planted areas. This information may also be part of the roofing membrane maintenance program;
    • troubleshooting, and
    • assignment of responsibility for removal of, care for, and reinstallation of growing medium and vegetation in the event of a leak.
  4. If you are also applying for a Structural Assessment Grant, you must provide the following:
    • A copy of the structural assessment report, which evaluates the ability of a building to hold the weight of a green roof that meets the City’s Green Roof Construction Standards.
    • A copy of the paid invoice for the structural assessment.

These documents can up uploaded via the online form or emailed to ecoroof@toronto.ca. The City reserves the right to request additional supporting documentation.

Structural Assessment Grant

Grants are available to help offset the cost of a structural assessment to determine if an existing building can carry the additional weight of a green roof.

You must hire a structural engineer licensed to work in the Province of Ontario and undertake the structural assessment prior to applying for funding for your green roof.

To be considered for a structural assessment grant, you must include the following documentation with your green roof funding application:

  • A copy of the structural assessment report, which evaluates the ability of a building to hold the weight of a green roof that meets the City’s Green Roof Construction Standards.
  • A copy of the paid invoice for the structural assessment.

The grant will equal the cost of the structural assessment or $1000.00, whichever is less. If a structural engineer determines that the building cannot support a green roof, the applicant will still be eligible for a Structural Assessment Grant.

If you are interested in applying for a Structural Assessment Grant, please notify the Eco-Roof Program Manager by email: Annemarie.Baynton@toronto.ca

Getting Started – This is a step-by step guide to applying for a green roof grant.

  1. Review the eligibility requirements for green roofs and the program’s Terms and Conditions.
  2. Contact a Green Roof Professional (GRP) near you to provide advice and a quote.

Tip: Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is a member based organization that has a list of qualified GRPs.

Note: You are not required to hire a contractor, and you may opt to install the roof yourself. However we recommend that you consult with a roofing professional.

Note: City of Toronto staff are not able to recommend a contractor or provide a list of contractors. Here are some tips for choosing a contractor.

  1. Familiarize yourself or ask your GRP to review the City’s Green Roof Construction Standard (Article IV of the Green Roof Bylaw). Please note that all green roofs in Toronto, must meet the minimum requirements set out in the Green Roof Construction Standard.
  1. Determine the minimum coverage required. Based on the Gross Floor Area (GFA) of your property, determine the minimum percent coverage for your green roof. Use the chart below as your guide.
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%

 

  1. Working with your selected GRP or an engineer, determine if a structural assessment is required for your property. Grants of up to $1000 are available to help offset the cost of a structural assessment to determine if an existing building can carry the additional weight of a green roof. To be considered for a Structural Assessment Grant, you must provide a copy of the structural assessment report and the paid invoice.

Note: If a structural engineer determines that the building cannot support a green roof, the applicant will still be eligible for a Structural Assessment Grant.

  1. Working with your GRP, determine the type of green roof system that you would like to install. Green roof systems are generally classified as extensive, semi-intensive or intensive. Learn more about the types of green roofs.
  1. Working with your GRP or landscape architect, determine the type of plants that are best suited to the conditions of your property.

Tip: Choose plants with biodiversity and habitat creation in mind. Pollinators and birds can benefit from green roof habitat. Design Guidelines for Biodiverse Green Roofs identify best practices for creating habitat and promoting biodiversity on green roofs in Toronto.

  1. Ready to move forward with your plans? Obtain a permit. A Green Roof Building Permit is required for the installation of a green roof. For more information on how to apply for a permit contact the Toronto Building Customer Service Counter closest to you.

Tip: As part of the permit process, you must complete a Green Roof Declaration Form.

  1. Gather your supporting documents. Your chosen roofing contractor will be able to provide the required documents. Provide the following supporting documentation when completing the Application Form:
    1. Photo of roof: A photo of the roof prior to construction.
    2. Information about green roof system: Detailed plans of the proposal showing plant material and type of growing medium and construction details.
    3. Information about the size of the roof: Detailed plans and drawings of the proposal showing showing the total roof area and total green roof area. All measurements are to be provided in square metres.
    4. Maintenance Plan: A copy of the maintenance plan as required in the Toronto Green Roof Construction Standard (Article IV of the Green Roof Bylaw).
  2. Complete the application form. Now that you have gathered all your supporting documents, you are ready to fill out the online application form. Be sure to upload all required documents using the online form.

Tip: The form can be completed by yourself or the roofing contractor of your choice. Most roofing contractors will submit the application form on behalf of their clients. If they do not offer, you may wish to ask them to do so.

  1. Project approval. Wait to hear back program staff regarding the status of your application before you begin any work on the roof. Upon receiving approval for funding, you may begin installing the green roof.
  1. Roof is complete. Please have your roofing contractor provide the following documentation:
    1. Photo of the completed roof
    2. Declaration letter stating the final size of the green roof in square meters. The letter should be dated and signed.
    3. Invoice showing the cost of the roof installation.
  1. Close your Green Roof Building Permit. In order to close your file and release the grant funding allocated for this project, Eco-Roof program staff require confirmation that the building permit has been closed. Please get in touch with the Buildings Permit office and make arrangements to have your green roof building permit closed. You will need to book an inspection to close your building permit.
  2. Project is verified. A verification form will be sent to the property owner for signature. Please sign, scan and return this form via email.
  3. Site visit is conducted by Eco-Roof Program Staff. Please arrange a time for a site visit and ensure there is safe access to your green roof.
  4. Grant payment is issued to the registered property owner. You may choose to receive payment via direct deposit or cheque pick up.

Eligible buildings

  • existing residential, industrial, commercial and institutional buildings in the city of Toronto
  • New low-rise residential buildings less than 5 units

Grant applications must be approved prior to commencing any work on the roof.

Projects that have started, or are complete, are not eligible for funding.

Incentive

  • $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 $100,000 are subject to approval by City Council.

Material requirements

Roofing material or coating system must meet the following criteria:

  1. Low slope (flat) roofs with a surface slope less than 16.7% or 9.5 degrees.
    • Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) rating of 78 or greater;
    • emissivity equal to 0.9;
    • asbestos and mercury-free; and
    • emit zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ozone-depleting substances (ODSs).
  2. Steep slope (pitched) roofs with a surface slope greater than 16.7% or 9.5 degrees:
    • Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) rating of 25 or greater;
    • emissivity equal to 0.9;
    • asbestos and mercury-free; and
    • emit zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ozone-depleting substances (ODSs).

Coverage requirements

Full roof retrofits

The roof must cover 100% of available roof space (excluding mechanical equipment or other environmental technologies).

Partial roof retrofits

Partial retrofits are eligible for funding, however, the goal is to have 100% of the building’s roof area covered with a cool roof. Applications for partial cool roofs must therefore include:

  • A letter from the property owner stating their intention to complete future roof replacements with an eco-roof surface that meets requirements of the City’s Eco-Roof Incentive Program.

Documentation requirements

  1. Photo of the roof prior to construction (not applicable for new construction)
  2. Roof plan: A detailed drawing of the roof showing:
    • Total roof area in m2
    • Proposed cool roof area in m2
    • Percentage of cool roof coverage
    • Total gross floor area of the building
  3. Manufacturer documentation providing evidence that the materials used meet the minimum requirements (SRI, emissivity, etc).
  4. Five-year maintenance plan and contract, or equivalent assurance that includes:
    • at minimum, an annual roof cleaning;
    • an annual roof condition assessment and resulting maintenance;
    • if applicable, re-coating of cool roof spray as per the life expectancy of the material or site conditions; and
    • the inclusion of all maintenance recommendations provided by the manufacturer or materials supplier.

These documents can be uploaded via the online form or emailed to ecoroof@toronto.ca. The City reserves the right to request additional supporting documentation.

Getting Started – This is a step-by step guide to applying for a cool roof grant.

  1. Review the eligibility requirements for green roofs and the program’s Terms and Conditions.
  2. Find a cool roof material that meets our minimum requirements.
    1. Low slope: SRI = 78 or greater
    2. Steep slope: SRI = 29 or greater
    3. All slopes: Emissivity or Thermal Emittance must be greater or equal to 0.9

Tip: Contact a roofing contractor and tell them you want to apply to the City of Toronto’s Eco-Roof Incentive Program. Ask them to find you a product that meets the program criteria.

Tip: You can search for cool roof products using the Cool Roof Rating Council’s directory.

  1. Decide on a roofing contractor. You may wish to get several quotes for your roofing project.

Note: You are not required to hire a contractor, and you may opt to install the roof yourself. However we recommend that you consult with a roofing professional.

Note: City of Toronto staff are not able to recommend a contractor or provide a list of contractors. Here are some tips for choosing a contractor.

  1. Gather your supporting documents. Your chosen roofing contractor will be able to provide the required documents. Provide the following supporting documentation when completing the Application Form:
  • Photo of roof: A photo of the roof prior to construction. For existing buildings only.
  • Information about roofing material: Provide the manufacturer’s information sheet for the selected cool roof material showing SRI and Emissivity/Thermal Emittance. Your roofing contractor will have this information.
  • Information about the size of the roof: Detailed plan/drawing of the roof showing the total roof area and total cool roof area. All measurements are to be provided in square metres. Note: if you are not doing 100% coverage you must provide a letter from the property owner stating their intention to complete future roof replacements with an eco-roof surface that meets requirements of the City’s Eco-Roof Incentive Program.
  • Maintenance plan: A maintenance plan that includes, at a minimum, (i) an annual roof cleaning, (ii) annual roof condition assessment and resulting maintenance, and (iii) maintenance recommendations provided by the manufacturer or materials supplier.

Tip: The maintenance plan can be a letter from the property owner stating how the roof will be maintained annually. The letter should be signed and dated.

  1. Complete the application form. Now that you have gathered all your supporting documents, you are ready to fill out the online application form. Be sure to upload all required documents using the online form.

Tip: The form can be completed by yourself or the roofing contractor of your choice. Most roofing contractors will submit the application form on behalf of their clients. If they do not offer, you may wish to ask them to do so.

  1. Project approval. Wait to hear back from Eco-Roof program staff regarding the status of your application before you begin any work on the roof. Upon receiving approval for funding, you may begin installing the cool roof.
  1. Roof is complete. Please have your roofing contractor provide the following documentation to Eco-Roof Program staff:
    1. Photo of the completed roof
    2. Declaration letter stating the final size of the cool roof in square meters. The letter should be dated and signed.
    3. Invoice showing the cost of the roof installation.
  2. Project is verified. A verification form will be sent to the property owner for signature. Please sign, scan and return this form via email.
  1. Grant payment is issued to the registered property owner. You may choose to receive payment via direct deposit or cheque pick up.
Apply to the Eco-Roof Incentive Program using this Application Form

 

Have questions about the process? Review the steps provided on this site or contact the Eco-Roof Program Manager at: Annemarie.Baynton@toronto.ca or 416-392-1848.

How are applications assessed & approved?

  • Green and cool roof projects that have already started or are complete are not eligible for funding.
  • Applications will be reviewed on a weekly basis.
  • Applicants will be notified of their application status within two 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.
  • 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:

  • A complete and compliant application has been approved.
  • The installation is fully completed in accordance with all terms and conditions of this Program.
  • A permit has been obtained from the Chief Building Official in accordance with the requirements of the Green Roof Bylaw (for Green Roofs only).

The following documentation has been received by the City:

  1. Declaration Letter: 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
  2. Photographs of the completed eco-roof
  3. Final invoice stating the full cost of the installed eco-roof
  4. Invoice or quote showing the cost associated with any maintenance plan proposed

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.