Toronto becomes the North American leader in requiring roofs that advocates argue save energy, developers say cost money 

(Source: Globe and Mail)

Green roofs will be required on new buildings in Toronto starting next year after city council yesterday overwhelmingly adopted the most comprehensive rules of any city in North America.

By a vote of 36-2, with councillors Rob Ford and Doug Holyday the only dissenters, council approved measures that developers warn will add to costs and that green-roof advocates say do not go far enough.

The new bylaw catapults Toronto to the top of the heap in North America in terms of the comprehensiveness of its mandated rules, according to Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. But the advocacy group said that Toronto does not even rank in the top 10 of North American cities – with Chicago in Number 1 spot – in terms of square footage of green roofs installed in 2008.

“We would have liked it [the Toronto bylaw] to be more aggressive,” said Steven Peck, president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, though he praised council for “exercising leadership” on a tool to fight climate change.

Stephen Dupuis, chief executive officer of the Building Industry and Land Development Association, said the biggest concern for developers is the cost of adjusting to the new requirements during an economic downturn. “Cost is an issue,” he said. “The market is so price-sensitive now.”

Mr. Dupuis cited a 50-per-cent drop in condo sales in Toronto last month, to 398 units from 798 units in the same month a year ago.

Read Jennifer Lewington’s full article “Council approves stringent green-roof rules” in the Globe and Mail (May 27, 2009).

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