Roof Top Garden

Green Roofs Offer a Viable Alternative for Otherwise Unused Rooftop Space

There has been considerable discussion and activity in recent years, particularly in major metropolitan centres such as Toronto, in relation to protecting and/or improving the local environment.  Many by-laws and standards have been established, for private residents and industries, with the common intent of reducing waste, harmful emissions, and other types of environmental contaminants and pollutants.

One such initiative in many of these urban centres has been an emphasis on converting the unused rooftop space of high-rise buildings to green roofs.  In fact, in January 2010, the City of Toronto introduced a by-law that mandates the installation of green roofs for any new buildings with floor areas equal to or greater than 2,000 square meters.  Based on the particular size of the building, 20% to 60% of its roof space must be allocated to a green roof system; the types of new construction/properties affected by this regulation include:

  • Residential (5+ stories)
  • Commercial
  • Industrial
  • Institutional

In addition, the City of Toronto offers an incentive program for the installation of green roofs on structures that are not subject to this by-law; specifically, this pertains to any of the above-listed types of properties that were constructed earlier than January 2010.  Through this program, property owners who voluntarily elect to convert existing rooftop space to green roofing may be eligible for funding of $75.00 per square meter up to a maximum of $100,000.00.

By definition, a green roof is, in effect, a rooftop garden consisting of vegetation planted in growing material; this material sits on top of a waterproof membrane.  Green roofs may include an extra layer between the growing medium and the waterproof membrane to help with water drainage, and can be either accessible or non-accessible to pedestrian traffic from within the building.

The installation of a green roof can result in a wide range of benefits, from an ecological or environmental outlook as well as an economical perspective.  The most documented of these benefits consist of:

Green Roofs – Environmental Benefits

  • Storm water management
  • Improvements in air quality
  • Moderation of temperatures
  • Enhancements in biodiversity
  • Diminishment of noise pollution
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduction of urban heat island effect
  • Waste reduction (use of recycled materials)

Green Roofs – Economic Benefits

  • Energy efficiency – less consumption
  • Extended lifecycles for HVAC systems
  • Improved curb appeal/building marketability
  • Superior roof durability/longer lifespan (ROI)
  • Enhanced fire protection/retardation properties

Based on the above, there is convincing evidence to substantiate the green roof mandate by the City of Toronto as well as its incentive program for owners of high-rise structures erected prior to the institution of this legislation.

Choose a Leading Landscaping Design Company for Your Green Roof Initiatives

Man Planting Green RoofWhether by mandate or by choice, property owners or managers who are responsible for the installation of a green roof will want to ensure that its design delivers the maximum return on investment, both environmentally and financially.  Consequently, they will be well-advised to capitalize on the expertise of Landcare, a leading landscaping company with respect to their green roof design capabilities.

The specialists from Landcare can provide valuable insight in relation to such green roof design elements as:

  • Waterproofing integrity
  • Irrigation and drainage
  • Structural load capacity
  • Storm water management
  • Vegetation and growth medium
  • Pedestrian access and walkways
  • Amenities – lighting, water features

Please see our Green Roof Design page for additional information on the green roof design and installation services provided by the specialists from Landcare.

For a green roof design that can deliver maximum environmental and economic benefits, call the professionals from Landcare today at 416-410-0320 or contact us to request a complimentary consultation on the design aspects best suited to your specific property.