Grants for Green Roofs and Cool Roofs

Grants 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
  • $100 / m2 installed
  • up to $1,000.00 for a structural assessment
Cool Roof Incentives
  • $5 / m2 for a cool roof with a new membrane
  • $2 / m2 for a cool roof coating over an existing roof
Apply to the Eco-Roof Incentive Program using this Application Form.

Green roofs and cool roofs – known collectively as ‘eco-roofs’ – help 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 is 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

  • Save energy
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduce urban heat
  • Capture stormwater
  • Improve air quality
  • Create habitat for pollinators, birds and other wildlife
  • Beautify our city

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 green roof installed

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 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 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.

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 4,999 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

  1. Proof that a Green Roof Building Permit 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.

Structural assessment grant

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

Required documentation

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.

Amount

The grant will equal the cost of the structural assessment or $1000.00, whichever is less.

Process

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 required documents outlined above are received (structural assessment report  & paid invoice).

How to apply

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

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 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 $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. 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 4,999 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%
  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. Ready to move forward with your plans? Obtain a permit. All green roofs constructed in Toronto must obtain a 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 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 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 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.
  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. 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.
  12. 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. Tip: You will need to book an inspection to close your building permit.
  13. Project is verified. A verification form will be sent to the property owner for signature. Please sign, scan and return this form via email.
  14. 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.
  15. Grant 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

Funding requests greater than $50,000 are subject to approval by City Council.

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% 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 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 grant

  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 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 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. 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% 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 is verified. A verification form will be sent to the property owner for signature. Please sign, scan and return this form via email.
  9. Grant payment is issued to the registered property owner. Payment will be issued via direct deposit.

 

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 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 & approved?

  • 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 one year of the application approval date.
  • Funding recipients will be selected based on the eligibility criteria.
  • Applications will be reviewed by a 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

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.