(Source: Reuters)

Toronto’s real estate developers are unhappy about a new law mandating “green” rooftops, arguing the city should have instead offered incentives to encourage the planting of grass and shrubs atop large new buildings.

Toronto last month became the first major city in North America to pass a bylaw requiring that any new development with floorspace of more than 2,000 square meters devote between 20 and 60 percent of its roof to vegetation. The rule applies to residential, commercial, industrial and institutional structures.

“I don’t think anybody is warm and fuzzy about having a green roof bylaw impressed on them as a prescriptive method,” said Stephen Upton, vice president for development at Tridel Corp, a Toronto high-rise condominium developer.

Supporters argue that green roofs offer many benefits to city dwellers and the environment, including energy savings as grass and foliage reduce the penetration of summer heat and limit the escape of heat in winter lessening the need for air conditioning and heating.

Read Nicole Mordant’s full article “Toronto developers see red over “green” roof law” in Reuters (June 16, 2009).

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