Applications are open for the Eco-Roof Incentive Program.
Funding for Green Roofs and Cool Roofs

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

Applications are accepted and reviewed on an on-going basis. Please apply before you begin work on your roof.

Green Roof Incentives (up to $100,000)
  • $100 / m2 installed
  • up to $1,000.00 for a structural assessment
Cool Roof Incentives (up to $50,000)
  • $5 / m2 for a cool roof with a new membrane
  • $2 / m2 for a cool roof coating over an existing roof

The City of Toronto established the Eco-Roof Incentive Program to help fund the expansion of green roof and cool roof installations across the city. Known collectively as eco-roofs, these technologies along with other City strategies help to make Toronto more resilient and better adapted to climate change.

Green roofs

Green roofs, also known as living roofs or vegetated roofs, support the growth of vegetation.

Toronto’s Green Roof Bylaw defines a green roof as 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, constructed and maintained in accordance with the Toronto Green Roof Construction Standard.

A green roof assembly includes, as a minimum, a root-repellent system, a drainage system, a filtering layer, a growing medium (soil) and plants, and is installed on a waterproof membrane of an applicable roof. Green roof systems are most often installed on a flat roof, but can be installed on a sloped roof with a few additional considerations.

Green roof systems are generally classified as extensive, semi-intensive or intensive. More about green roof types.

Cool roofs

A cool roof or white roof is a roofing system with an exterior surface the 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 waterproofing membrane.

Benefits of eco-roofs

  • Reduce energy use: Eco-roofs reduce energy use, heating and cooling costs and associated greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).
  • Extend roof life: Eco-roofs protect a roof membrane from high surface temperatures and damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays.
  • Cool the air: Eco-roofs help reduce urban heat and help to keep our city cool and comfortable.
  • Manage stormwater: Green roofs absorb rain that could flood basements, overload sewers and pollute waterways. Learn more about Toronto’s combined sewer overflows.
  • Increase habitat and biodiversity: Green roofs provide habitat for birds, pollinators, urban wildlife and native plants.
  • Clean the air: Green roof plants sequester carbon, create oxygen and remove harmful pollutants from the air.
  • Produce food: Green roofs can be used to grow food. Urban agriculture supports job creation, wellness, food security and more.
  • Reduce noise: Green roofs insulate buildings from noise pollution.
  • Beautify our city: Green roofs add visual interest to our built environment.
  • Create amenity space: Green roofs can be integrated into a functional rooftop amenity space.
  • Reduce stress: Green roofs create access to nature in cities and time in nature is proven to reduce stress in people.

Looking for information on solar roofs? Please visit SolarTO.

Eligible buildings

  • existing residential, industrial, commercial & institutional buildings
  • new residential, industrial, commercial, & 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

Incentive

  • $100 per m2 of vegetated area installed
  • Maximum of $100,000 per green roof project

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

Application timing

Applications must be approved prior to commencing any work on the roof. Projects that have started, or are complete, may not be eligible for funding.

Design & construction requirements

All green roof projects must be designed and constructed in conformance with the Toronto Green Roof Construction Standard (Article IV of the Green Roof Bylaw).

A 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.

The Green Roof Bylaw defines a green roof as “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, constructed and maintained in accordance with the Toronto Green Roof Construction Standard.”

Please note: planter boxes on rooftops do not meet the definition of a green roof as they are not an extension of the roofing system.

Coverage requirements

Gross Floor Area*

(Size of Building)

Minimum Coverage of Available Roof Space**

(Size of Green Roof)

Less than 4,999m² 20%
5,000 – 9,999 m² 30%
10,000 – 14,999m² 40%
15,000 – 19,999m² 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

  1. Proof that a building permit for your green roof has been issued.
  2. Photo of the roof prior to construction (not applicable for new construction).
  3. 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
  4. Green roof design plans that include information about:
    • plant material
    • type of growing medium
    • construction details
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Looking for a Green Roof Professional (GRP) to provide advice and a quote? Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is a member based organization that has a list of qualified GRPs.

Structural Assessment Grant (SAG)

Additional funding is 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.

Eligibility

  • Green roof projects only
  • Existing buildings only
  • You must hire a structural engineer licensed to work in the Province of Ontario
  • The structural assessment must be completed before the green roof is installed
  • The structural assessment must evaluate the ability of a building to hold the weight of a green roof only (no additional elements such as decking, pool, furniture, etc.)

Conditions of Approval

If the structural engineer determines that the building can support the additional load of a green roof:

A. The applicant installs the green roof – Approved for SAG funding.

B. The applicant does not install the green roof – Not approved for SAG funding.

 

If the structural engineer determines that the building cannot support the additional load of a green roof:

A. The applicant installs the green roof (with necessary structural amendments) – Approved for SAG funding.

B. The applicant does not install the green roof – Approved for SAG funding.

Required documentation

To be considered for SAG, 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.

Amount

SAG will equal the cost of the structural assessment or $1,000.00 (whichever is less).

If proceeding with the green roof project, the SAG amount will be added to the green roof grant payment and dispersed as one total amount:
SAG amount + Green roof incentive amount = Total grant amount

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for a Structural Assessment Grant, please indicate that on your application form.

Step-by-step guide to applying for a green roof rebate

  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 green roof professional. 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.
  3. Working with your selected GRP or an engineer, determine if a structural assessment is appropriate for your property. Tip: Grants of up to $1,000 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. Learn more in the Structural Assessment Grant section.
  4. 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 4,999m² 20%
    5,000 – 9,999m² 30%
    10,000 – 14,999m² 40%
    15,000 – 19,999m² 50%
    20,000 m² or greater 60%
  5. 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.
  6. 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. Look at the Design Guidelines for Biodiverse Green Roofs to identify best practices for creating habitat and promoting biodiversity on green roofs.
  7. Obtain a building permit. All green roofs constructed in Toronto must obtain a building permit and must meet the minimum requirements set out in the Green Roof Construction Standard (Article IV of the Green Roof Bylaw). For more information contact Toronto Building Customer Service.
  8. Gather 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 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).
  9. Apply online. Complete the online application form. Be sure to upload all required documents using the online form. Tip: The application can be completed by the property owner or the roofing contractor. 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.
  10. Project approval. Wait to hear back from 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.
  11. Roof is complete. The roofing contractor must send the following documentation to ecoroof@toronto.ca:
    1. Photos 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.
  12. Close the building permit. In order to close your file and release the rebate 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 building permit closed. Tip: You will need to book an inspection to close your building permit.
  13. Project verification. A verification form will be sent to the property owner for signature. Please sign, scan and return this form via email to ecoroof@toronto.ca.
  14. Book a site visit with Eco-Roof Program Staff. Please arrange a time for a site visit and ensure there is safe access to your green roof.
  15. Rebate payment issued. Payment is issued to the registered property owner. Payment will be made via direct deposit.

 

Eligible buildings

  • existing residential, industrial, commercial & institutional buildings
  • new low-rise residential buildings less than 5 units

Incentive

  • $5 / m² for a cool roof with a new membrane, or
  • $2 / m² for a cool roof coating over an existing roof
  • Maximum of $50,000 per cool roof project

Application Timing

Applications must be approved prior to commencing any work on the roof. Projects that have started, or are complete, may not be eligible for funding.

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 per cent or 9.5 degrees.
    • Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) rating of 78 or greater;
    • emissivity greater than or equal to 0.9;
  2. Steep slope (pitched) roofs with a surface slope greater than 16.7 per cent or 9.5 degrees:
    • Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) rating of 25 or greater;
    • emissivity greater than or equal to 0.9;

All cool roof products must also be asbestos and mercury-free; and emit zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ozone-depleting substances (ODSs).

Find a cool roof product that meets our program criteria using the Cool Roof Rating Council’s product directory.

Emissivity, Solar Reflectance and SRI

The performance of a cool roof is measured by its ability to reflect solar energy and how efficiently it emits absorbed heat. Three values measure the performance of a cool roof:

Solar Reflectance: Measures the fraction of solar energy reflected by the roof. Values range from 0 to 1 with 1 being the most reflective. Cool roofs reflect more solar energy than conventional roofs. The solar energy that is not reflected is absorbed by the roof.

Emissivity: Sometimes referred to as thermal emittance is the relative ability of the roof surface to radiate absorbed heat. Values range from 0 to 1 with 1 being the most emissive. Cool roofs can emit absorbed heat more efficiently, minimizing heat transfer to the building below.

Solar Reflectance Index (SRI): A value that combines the solar reflectance and thermal emittance of a roof into one value. SRI values for most cool roof materials fall between 0 and 100, although values outside of that range are possible.  Roofs with a greater SRI value will be more effective at reflecting and emitting solar energy.

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 cool roof requirements (SRI, emissivity, etc).
  4. Maintenance plan 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
    • 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.

 

Step-by-step guide to applying for a cool roof rebate

  1. Review the eligibility requirements for cool 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 = 25 or greater
    3. All slopes: Emissivity or Thermal Emittance must be greater than or equal to 0.9
  3. 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. 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.
  4. Gather the 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. For existing buildings only.
    2. 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.
    3. 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 per cent 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.
    4. 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. A maintenance contract is not required.
  5. Apply online. Complete 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. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Project verification. A verification form will be sent to the property owner for signature. Please sign, scan and return this form via email.
  9. Rebate payment issued. Payment is issued to the registered property owner. Payment will be made via direct deposit.

 

Eco-Roof Incentive Program Application Form

For accommodation of special requests and alternative application formats, please contact the Program Manager, Eco-Roof Incentive Program 416-392-1848 or by email at ecoroof@toronto.ca

Have questions about the process? Review the steps provided on this site or contact the Eco-Roof Incentive Program staff at ecoroof@toronto.ca

Application timing

Applications are accepted and reviewed on an on-going basis. Applications must be approved prior to commencing any work on the roof. Projects that have started, or are complete, may not be eligible for funding.

Who can fill out the application form?

The form can be completed by the property owner or the roofing contractor. 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.

How are applications assessed and approved?

  • Applications must be submitted prior to commencing work on the roof
  • Applications will be reviewed on a weekly basis.
  • Applicants will be notified of their application status within two weeks of requesting a rebate.
  • Applications can take up to six weeks to receive approval.
  • Funding recipients will be selected based on the eligibility criteria.
  • Application approval is subject to funding availability.
  • Approved projects must be completed within one year of the application approval date.
  • Applications will be reviewed by a Review Committee, comprised of staff from the Environment and Climate Division, City Planning, Toronto Building and Toronto Water.

When will the rebate 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:
    • 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
    • Photographs of the completed eco-roof
    • Final invoice stating the full cost of the installed eco-roof

    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.

    Supporting document templates

    The following templates are optional resources to help applicants provide all of the required application information. Download the templates relevant to your application and submit the completed templates with your application.

    • The Letter of Intent for Green Roof Maintenance is a signed and dated letter from the property owner(s) which confirms their intent to conduct regular maintenance of their green roof in accordance with the requirements of the Eco-Roof Incentive Program.
    • The Letter of Intent for Cool Roof Maintenance is a signed and dated letter from the property owner(s) which confirms their intent to conduct regular maintenance of their cool roof in accordance with the requirements of the Eco-Roof Incentive Program.
    • The Letter of Intent for Future Roof Replacements is a signed and dated letter from the property owner(s) which confirms their intent to complete future roof replacements with a cool roof product (or another eligible eco-roof product) that meets the requirements of the Eco-Roof Incentive Program.

    What are the terms and conditions of the program?

    Review the Eco-Roof Incentive Program Terms and Conditions. For more information contact Program staff at ecoroof@toronto.ca

    Since 2009, the Eco-Roof Incentive Program has: 

    • supported the installation of 627 eco-roof projects
    • created over 1.14 million square metres
    • diverted over 18.9 million litres of stormwater annually
    • reduced energy consumption by over 2,300 megawatt hours annually
    • avoided over 434 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

    In 2023, 43 projects were completed, totalling 78,000 square metres of roof space.

    Learn more about some of the projects funded by the Eco-Roof Incentive Program:

    • Native Child and Family Services of Toronto – a unique green roof, designed as a contemporary iteration of a longhouse with a healing lodge and fire circle surrounded by a lush roof garden.
    • The YMCA of Greater Toronto at 20 Grosvenor Street is open to the public (who must first ask at the main desk for a pass) and features a running track, outdoor studio, benches and pathways open from April to November.

     

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