The City of Toronto launched the Eco-Roof Incentive Programme in 2009 to encourage the uptake of eco-roofs by building owners, make buildings more sustainable and promote the creation of green jobs. The Programme 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. Eligible buildings include existing residential, industrial, commercial and institutional buildings, as well as new buildings not subject to the Green Roof Bylaw (otherwise requiring green roofs on new construction over 2,000 m2).


Since the introduction of the Eco-Roof Incentive Programme in 2009, the programme has avoided 106 tonnes of GHG emissions and established 233,000 m2 (2,507,991 ft2) of eco-roof space (cool + green).

Reasons for success

The programme is self-sustaining with funding coming from fees paid by developers under the cash-in-lieu policy of the Green Roof Bylaw. Additional reasons for success include the inclusion of new smaller buildings (under 2,000 m2) that are not required to build a green roof under the Green Roof Bylaw and might otherwise struggle with the costs of the eco/green-roofs. There was also consultation done with the roofing sector to raise awareness of the grant program.

When/why a city might adopt an approach like this

This approach may be particularly effective for cities with the budget to provide financial incentives or creative offset schemes to pass along the revenues from fees or fines by those who cannot meet the greening requirements to those that can. It can also be used by cities without strong planning powers or by any city looking to target existing buildings or smaller buildings that might struggle with the costs of eco/green-roofs.

C40 Good Practice Guides

C40’s Good Practice Guides offer mayors and urban policymakers roadmaps for tackling climate change, reducing climate risk and encouraging sustainable urban development. With 100 case studies taken from cities of every size, geography and stage of development around the world, the Good Practice Guides provide tangible examples of climate solutions that other cities can learn from.

The Cool Cities Good Practice Guide is available for download here. The full collection of C40 Good Practice Guides is available for download here.

All references can be found in the full guide.

  • Environmental
  • Social
Key Impact
Supported 112 greening projects totaling 233,000 square metres, reducing energy consumption by 565 MWh, and diverting 8.7 million litres of storm water annually
Emissions Reduction
Avoided 106 tonnes of greenhouse gases
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