The City of Toronto launched the Eco-Roof Incentive Program in 2009 to support the uptake of eco-roofs by building owners, make buildings more sustainable and promote the creation of green jobs. The Program provides grant funding for building owners to install new roofing materials – green roofs with living plants and cool roofs that reflect solar heat – that provide environmental benefits and build resilience.

In addition to cooling UHI and instances of extreme heat, effective storm water management approaches are essential in preparing for extreme weather, and green roofs significantly reduce the storm water run-off entering Toronto’s sewer systems after extreme rain events.

Since the program started in 2009 it has made significant contributions to Toronto’s resilience. As of January 2014 the program had supported a total of 112 projects totaling 233,000 square metres, reducing energy consumption by an estimated 565 MWh, avoiding 106 tonnes of greenhouse gases and diverting 8.7 million litres of storm water annually from the sewers.

The Eco-Roof Incentive Program complements Toronto’s Green Roof Bylaw and is a key element of the City of Toronto's Climate Change Action Plan, an aggressive environmental framework aimed at reducing Toronto’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by the year 2050.

What is it?

The Eco-Roof Incentive Program provides funding for existing buildings, and new buildings not required to construct a green roof as part of the Green Roof Bylaw. Buildings must be located in the city of Toronto.

Eligible green roof projects will receive $75 / square metre up to a maximum of $100,000.

Eligible cool roof projects will receive $2-5 / square metre up to a maximum of $50,000.

How does it work?

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 of 2,000 m2.
  • New and existing Toronto Public and Separate School Board buildings of any size

To be eligible for the Eco-Roof Incentive Program, a green roof must meet the following specifications:

  • Be designed, constructed and maintained in conformance with the requirements of the Toronto Green Roof Construction Standard
  • Have minimum coverage of available roof space that ranges from 20-60% based on the size of the building.

The Eco-Roof Incentive Program provides funds for cool roof projects on existing residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings that meet the following specifications:

  • Cover 100% of the roof area of the building
  • Be comprised of a roof material or coating system that:
    • has a minimum Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) rating of 78 for low-sloped roofs or SRI of 29 for steep-sloped roofs.
    • has an emissivity greater than 0.9 and an initial solar reflectance of 0.65.
    • is asbestos and mercury-free and emits zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ozone depleting substances (ODSs).

The program grants are funded by fees paid by developers under the Green Roof Bylaw.

Next steps

In 2013 the program was expanded to include the residential sector. As a result there has been an increase in applications and uptake of green roofs from this sector. It is expected that this trend will continue as more property owners embrace eco-roof technology.

In 2015 City Council will be presented with a report that will discuss the outcomes of the program and make recommendations for increasing uptake of the program.


Annemarie Baynton
Eco-Roof Coordinator
Environment and Energy Division
Phone: 416-392-1848


Mailing address:
Metro Hall, 2nd Floor
55 John Street
Toronto, ON, M5V 3C6