NEWS     |    BLOG    |    EVENTS     |    JOBS    |     MARKETPLACE     |     INDUSTRY     |     PROJECTS    |    TV     |    GREENROOFS101   |     DIRECTORY     |    VIRTUAL 
  industry support

---Advertisements---Ad: American Hydrotech







[industry news] [industry support] [researchlinks]

How To's
Industry Support
Plant List

Europe: Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, UK;
North America: U.S., Canada;
Asia: China, Japan, Singapore,
Possible North American Grants & Funding

Greenroofs galore in Stuttgart,Germany
Here is an opportunity for the U.S. to learn by example.  You can see at least nine extensive greenroofs in this photo of Stuttgart-Weilimdorf, Germany.  Photo Source: ZinCo Int'l.


Denmark - Green roof ambitions in Copenhagen: It’s now mandatory in the City of Copenhagen that all new flat roofs at or under a 30 degree-pitch, both private and public, have to be vegetated.  If old roofs have to be retrofitted, the building owner may be able to receive public financial support for a greenroof.

"Copenhagen has set itself the ambitious target of becoming the world’s first carbon neutral capital by 2025. To meet this ambitious goal we need ambitious measures. Therefore we now have decided to adapt to harsher weather by making new requirements for getting grass on top of as many buildings as possible," - Mayor of Technical and Environmental Administration, Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard.

The City of Copenhagen has set up four requirements for green roofs. Buildings with green roofs should be able to meet at least two of the following effects:

• Absorb 50-80% of the precipitation that falls on the roof.

• Provide a cooling and insulating effect of the building and reduce reflection.

• Help make the city greener, reducing the urban heat island effect. So counteract increased temperature rise in the cities.

• Contribute to a visual and aesthetic architectural variation that has a positive effect on quality of life.

• Double the roof life as roofing membrane is protected against UV rays reactive power buildings have made.

Today about 200,000 m2 of the roofs in Copenhagen are flat and at least 30 buildings have grass ”on top.” Growth in new buildings with green roofs is presumably 5,000 m2 per year - but it is hard to predict a precise number as it depends on the cities' development.  Read the June 11, 2010 "Striving to be world’s first carbon neutral capital, Copenhagen enacts mandatory green roof policy" by Andrew Nusca in

Germany - The greenroof industry is well established, documented and supported in Germany, representing approximately 7% of all new roof construction with 140 million sf of greenroofs (Dawson, 2002, National Geographic News).  According to the 2003 report by English Nature: Green Roofs: brown is the new green - "Green roofs: their existing status and potential for conserving biodiversity in urban areas - Report Number 498," 13.5 million square meters of greenroofs were installed in Germany in 2001.

Part of the isolation problem for the English speaking population has been that until the early 1990s, little information had been translated and made available in English.  A growing roof greening industry has been emerging in the United Kingdom with the promotion of the ecological benefits, and thankfully more technical data has been available from several sources.

One example of the German groups is the Deutscher Dachgartner-Verband (German Roof-Gardening Association), which has been advocating greenroofs since 1984 and provides up-to-date information on new developments in vegetated roof cover design in Europe to its many members.  Link here to see which German cities are involved in their coalition, and to learn more about their research and lobbying efforts in German.

Another technical support association is the Forschungsgesellschaft Landschaftsbau Landschaftsentwicklung e.V. or the FLL (The Landscaping and Landscape Development and Research Society).  Headquartered in Bonn, Germany, it has established a standardized method for investigating and determining the root penetration resistance of waterproofing products used throughout Europe.  Click here to link directly to see the recommended guidelines of the highly informative FLL German site.  See the English page here.

Were it not for specific conditions found in Germany, the higher costs associated with the initial construction of greenroofs may have precluded their widespread application (Charlie Miller publication, 1998).  Federal environmental laws require mitigation or compensation for the destruction of natural open space caused by development. Because of high urban density to real estate values, Germany provides indirect and direct subsidies and ordinances for the installation of greenroofs.  In 1996 a survey done by Zentralverband Gartenbau e.V. (ZVG), the Gardening Central Association, revealed that approximately 50%, or over 80 cities in Germany offered incentives to building owners utilizing greenroofs.  According to Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, 80% of the greenroofs are extensive, involving low growing media, plant diversity and lower costs.

Taxes are collected on anticipated storm water control or usage fees, and are used to cover constructing, maintaining and replacing stormwater management facilities. A 100% utility surcharge is levied against owners of impervious roof covers (Dr. Michael Krebs, 1999), and thirteen German cities allow a reduction between 50% and 80% of the utility fee for using a greenroof.   Over a 36-year period, the reduction in the usage fee alone can compensate the building owner for as much as 50% of the additional capital cost (ZVG, 1996).

Another type of indirect subsidy lets developers use greenroofs as mitigation for the provision of open space.  Depending on the type of proposed plant material, local land development ordinances allow greenroofs to compensate for lost open space at a ratio of .50 to .70.  This creates a very attractive alternative in areas of high real estate prices.  Alternatives for mitigation include the restoration of existing impervious surfaces to create open space or improving the biodiversity of existing open space (Charlie Miller publication, 1998).

Twenty-nine German cities in the ZVG survey provide a direct monetary subsidy to developers who use greenroofs.  The amount of the subsidy varies widely, ranging between $0.51 to $6.20 per square foot ($5.5 to $67/m²).  Most cities have adopted a financial aid ceiling for individual projects, ranging from $280 to $11,250 per municipality.  The subsidies are based on estimates of the avoided costs associated with infrastructure maintenance and replacement.  The subsidy structure provides the greatest incentive to residences and small building owners (Charlie Miller publication, 1998).

Residential Intensive Greenroof  by Optigrun

Source: Optigrün International AG,

According to Penn State's Dr. Dave Beattie, by late 2002, 15% of all of Germany's flat roofs are now greenroofs, with 22% of Stuttgart's roofs being greenroofs, and all new roof construction will require greenroofs (personal communications, September, 2002).  In 1989, twenty-seven cities had established zoning districts that require greenroofs to be installed on flat roofs. Such a requirement on flat-roofed industrial buildings was included in Stuttgart’s 1989 Law of Building Book (The London Ecology Unit, 1993).

Since 1982, the greenroof industry in Germany has grown an average of 15-20% (

Since 1984 Munich has included greenroofs in its building ordinance, and in the subsequent 15 years approximately 4.2 million square feet of rooftops have been greened.  In 1992 a direct subsidy program was started, providing $3.13 per square foot ($33.70/m²), paying up to 50% of the capital cost of installing a greenroof (Charlie Miller publication, 1998).  By 1996, over 10 million square meters of greenroofs were constructed in Germany alone (Green Roofs For Healthy Cities).

The ZVG has estimated that the lifetime cost of an extensive greenroof (based on a 36 year service life) in Germany is 15% lower than a comparable bituminous roof with gravel ballast.  This estimate includes savings achieved through the elimination of stormwater detention basins, and takes into account higher real estate and construction costs than those present in the U.S. (Charlie Miller publication, 1998).

Due to the legislative and financial support of European state and municipal governments, the greenroof industry has grown into a vibrant, multi-dollar market in Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland among others.  This public support recognizes the many tangible and intangible advantages of greenroofs, and we in North America could certainly benefit from this forward thinking.


Denmark - 2010: Dachy Zielone - The first issue of the free Internet quarterly magazine Dachy Zielone (Green Roofs) devoted to green roof technologies in Poland is available and includes selected English and Russian abstracts. Dachy Zielone is the source of information, news and resources about the green roof planning, execution and upkeep as well as the platform for sharing views and experiences in Poland. The website is also offered in both English and Russian; the project coincides with the establishing of the Polish Green Roof Association (PSDZ).


Switzerland - 2005:  Through 2005, there were approximately 200 greenroof projects in Switzerland, totally about 10,000,000 - 15,000,000 m2.  The cities of Basel, Zürich, and Luzern, for example now require that every new flat roof be planted per building code.  Dr. Stephan Brenneisen of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences says, "We work together with authorities to develop standards for green roofing according to their planning and construction laws."  As of the end of 2005, approximately 20% of the flat roofs are green roofs within Basel in the city of Basel in a year there will be around 80. This equals about 80 city projects totaling 480,000 m2, with the outlying countryside projects also around 80, estimated at 500,000 m2 (Dr. Stephan Brenneisen, 2005).


U.K. - 2010: Green roofs are one way to help mitigate the effects of climate change arising from the built environment, and are increasingly being seen as an important part of making cities less damaging. London is rising to the challenge, not just by hosting the recent World Green Roof Congress 2010, but also via Mayor Boris Johnson’s draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. This proposes that all major new developments within London’s Central Activities Zone policy area - comprising the City of London, most of Westminster and the inner parts of Camden, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Lambeth and Kensington and Chelsea - are required to have a green roof (and where not technically feasible, a cool roof). Boris is currently working with partners to enable the delivery of 100,000m² of new green roofs by 2012.

The London Borough of Camden is playing an important role in attaining this target – they have their own Biodiversity Action Plan with the objective of increasing their number of green roofs by 20 by this date. These roofs are being used to combat climate change by reducing heat loss at roof level, which in turn will improve residents’ fuel bills. They will also increase biodiversity and sound insulation.

Other green roofs already in Camden include three installed at Goldsmiths Place in 2006 and two at the Webheath estate in Hampstead installed in 2009. Another is currently under construction at Rowley Way NW6 and many others are in the planning stages. Through its enabling role with local authorities, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is fully supportive of the green roofs agenda. Nick Taylor, HCA London Head of Area, says: “Through our continued investment in Camden and across the capital, HCA London is looking to increase the environmental credentials of all schemes. Achieving this on existing housing stock is a great example of how to address carbon reduction and benefit existing residents whilst complementing our own high environmental and design standards”. [10.12.10]

2008: The Mayor of London and Design for London published a technical report on Living Roofs and Walls, supporting the new London Plan policy. The report was launched on February 29, 2008 at the Ecobuild conference by Design for London and Alumasc Exterior Building Products, sponsors of the research which led to the report. The report was written by Dusty Gedge, John Newton, Karl Craddick et al.

The London Plan (consolidated with Alterations since 2004) contains a policy to promote living roofs and walls.
Living roofs and walls - Technical report: supporting London Plan policy PDF
Living roofs and walls - Technical report: supporting London Plan policy RTF

The New London Plan includes the following policy statement, click here.

Policy 4A.11 Living Roofs and Walls
The Mayor will, and boroughs should, expect major developments to incorporate living roofs and walls where feasible and reflect this principle in DPD policies. It is expected that this will include roof and wall planting that delivers as many of these objectives as possible:

• accessible roof space
• adapting to and mitigating climate change
• sustainable urban drainage
• enhancing biodiversity
• improved appearance.

North America

United States of America - Organizations

Many people here in North America are interested in promoting greenroofs as part of a city's infrastructure, so that their costs may be included in city budgets right from the start, as is the case in much of Germany and other parts of Europe.  At the moment, the cities of Chicago, Portland OR, Seattle, Toronto, Canada, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and areas around Washington, D.C., are looking into different types of incentive programs, and movements are underway in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Vancouver, B.C. and many others. -  We are non-membership based, and are the greenroof industry resource portal.  We share information pertaining to all the key players in the greenroof community, market, and world.  Search The Greenroof Project Database for specific projects by name, year built, location, greenroof type, application type, test/research, by keyword(s) and more.  New projects are added and updated all the time!


ASTM -  In October, 2001, the American Society for the Testing of Materials (ASTM) established a Green Roof Standards Task Group, and their focus is to provide national standards for greenroof technologies.  Members have defined greenroofs and reviewed the established German documents listed above to provide guidelines for further U.S. study.  This Task Group has been set up under the E06.71 Subcommittee on Sustainability in Buildings, part of the 1946 ASTM Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings.  Access the WK575 Practice for Assessment of Green Roofs dated 2.7.03.  For further information, contact Michael F. Gibbons, Head of the Green Roof Task Group, ASTM, at 972.960.8726 or

Or, send questions and thoughts to the former ASTM Editor and Green Roof Task Group member, Ralph Velasquez, to:  Ralph inaugurated his column ASTM Task Force Updates for us in April, 2005, and provided quarterly meeting happenings - but now he's the Sustainable Roofing Technologies Editor.

Click on the hyperlinks below for a Document Summary of each ASTM standard:

E2396-05 Standard Test Method for Saturated Water Permeability of Granular Drainage Media [Falling-Head Method] for Green Roof Systems

E2397-05 Standard Practice for Determination of Dead Loads and Live Loads associated with Green Roof Systems

E2398-05 Standard Test Method for Water Capture and Media Retention of Geocomposite Drain Layers for Green Roof Systems

E2399-05 Standard Test Method for Maximum Media Density for Dead Load Analysis of Green Roof Systems

E2400-06 Standard Guide for Selection, Installation, and Maintenance of Plants for Green Roof Systems


Insurance Policies:  At present, only a few major insurance U.S. companies are addressing greenroofs:

Affiliated FM, September, 2008:  A member of the FM Global Group, Affiliated FM specializes in commercial property insurance for business and industry. Affiliated FM’s Green Coverage Endorsement provides coverage for those additional costs incurred in rebuilding physically damaged property associated with being or going “green.”  This includes enhanced property and business interruption coverage to help clients establish and maintain sustainable, environmentally friendly businesses. These new coverages and costs are in addition to the broad replacement cost coverage already provided in the client’s proVision policy.

Among other items, the new coverage also includes additional costs to replace damaged roofs with green roofing systems, including vegetative roofing systems as well as costs to hire an accredited green consultant to assist in green design and reconstruction.

Visit the Affiliated FM’s Green Coverage Endorsement page, and also read:
Green Coverage Endorsement, PRO GREEN 7316 (7/08)
Slip Sheet

Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, January 2009: Fireman’s Fund offers special coverage for green buildings and it  achieved LEED Silver certification for the five floors it occupies at Lincoln Plaza, a 45-story office tower in Dallas, Texas, owned by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS).

July and March, 2008:  Fireman's Fund Insurance Company is set to launch the first-ever green insurance for U.S. homeowners this summer 2008. Green roofs are covered by the policy.  Read:

Green Insurance for Homeowners Nationwide
Daily Green,
by Brian Clark Howard
July 8, 2008

Travelers Insurance:  The Commercial Property Division of Travelers, one of the largest providers of property and casualty insurance products in the United States, has launched Green Building Coverage Enhancements, covering the additional cost and restoration time for green building alternatives, expenses related to green building reengineering and recertification, and greenroofs. Read:

Travelers Expands Property Coverage to Support Green Building
by Staff
March 18, 2008

U.S. "...The company's Commercial Property Division has launched Green Building Coverage Enhancements, covering the additional cost and restoration time for green building alternatives, expenses related to green building reengineering and recertification, and green roofs. The coverage is for mid-sized businesses and allows environmentally preferred building materials to be used after a covered event or loss..."

FM Global, January, 2007: They help safeguard clients' properties through cost-effective insurance coverage, risk transfer solutions and loss prevention research and engineering. FM Global's 2007 Resource Catalog has educational materials based on their cutting-edge research and engineering. These products, available in a wide variety of languages and formats, help to effectively manage property-related hazards, prevent facility damage and minimize business interruption.

See FM Global's Property Loss Prevention Data Sheet 1-35: Green Roof Systems, updated 1.07.  Its 26-pages include Scope, Loss Prevention Recommendations, and Support for Recommendations.  Costs, and order information here:

FM Global insurance clients - US$25.00
Municipal and volunteer firefighters - US$25.00
All others - US$75.00


U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental  Design (LEED™)

U.S. Green Building Council
February, 2010: The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council USGBC) is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings.  The USGBC is a non-profit organization and is the developer and administrator of the LEED™ Green Building Rating System, a leading-edge system, design guideline and measuring tool for designing, constructing, and certifying the world's greenest buildings according to a stringent set of standards.  The USGBC serves its members and the community through the development of industry standards, design practices and tools, policy advocacy, information exchange, and education.

With a community comprising 78 local affiliates, more than 18,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 140,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013. USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students.

Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85% of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. The four levels of certification include LEED™ Certified, Silver Level, Gold Level and Platinum Level.  The U.S. Green Building Council awards points out of a possible 69: LEED™ certified (at least 26 points for new construction), silver, gold, or platinum (at least 52 points).  For complete information regarding LEED™, see

Over 35,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED system, comprising over 6.9 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries.

By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

For more information, visit

July, 2007:  Originally published in the July 2007 issue of GreenSource Magazine,
Architectural Record's Sustainable Roofing Strategies Continuing Education of July 2007 states: "The U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Building Rating System, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®), is a voluntary certification program for sustainable buildings. LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations (LEED-NC) Version 2.2 allows credit for several roofing types and related strategies.

"Green roofs can contribute up to 14 credits with LEED-NC, Version 2.2. Between one and two points can be earned in the following categories: Storm Water Management, Landscape and Exterior Design to Reduce Heat Islands, Recycled Content, Reduced Site Disturbance, Water Efficient Landscaping, Local/Regional Materials, and Optimized Energy Performance. Typically, plant choices for green roofs are native to the area, and the growing media is locally sourced, so that soil is not shipped far."

Compliance is performance-based, not prescriptive (Tom Dietsche, LEED™ Program Associate, April 2002). Greenroofs can contribute to at least 6 LEED™ points (more are possible) up to a possible 15 or 16 in the following sub-categories:

Reduced Site Disturbance, Protect or Restore Open Space;
Landscape Design That Reduces Urban Heat Islands, Roof (SS Credit 7);Energy Efficiency (EA credit 1);
Stormwater Management (SS credit 6);
Water Efficient Landscaping;
Daylight & Natural Views (EQ credit 8);
Innovative Wastewater Technologies;
Innovation in Design.

As of September, 2007, two U.S. federal agencies, 22 states, and 75 localities from Seattle to Boston have instituted policies to require or encourage LEED have agreed to follow LEED building principles.  According to 2004 USGBC figures, in the United States buildings: account for 36% of total energy use and 65% of electricity consumption; generate 30% of greenhouse gas emissions; represent 30% of raw materials use; generate 30% of waste output -- some 136 million tons annually; and consume 12% of potable water.  Learn more about USGBC here.  As of January, 2005, approximately 155 buildings had been LEED™ certified nationwide with another 1,600 awaiting certification. About 4% of new U.S. commercial buildings are LEED certified, and that is increasing by 1% each year (Taryn Holowka, communications manager for the U.S. Green Building Council, 2005).

LEED-certified green buildings also have opportunities for national, regional and local utility rebates, tax credits and subsidies.

The Office of the Federal Environmental Executive writes in its September 2003 Federal Green Building Report PDF, "Many agencies require LEED™ Certified as a minimum requirement; others encourage LEED™ Silver as a goal. Some agencies have stated that at least 20 percent of all major construction shall be selected as LEED™ pilot projects by fiscal year 2004 (FY 2004), with increasing percentages of projects until FY 2009, when all construction projects are to be capable of achieving LEED certification. However, while several Federal agencies are embracing LEED™ as their standard of performance, neither LEED™ nor any other system has yet been adopted government-wide."

For example, the Department of Defense and General Services Administration (GSA) now mandates that all new government buildings follow green building protocols developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (Markham and Walles, 2003, Environmental Design + Construction).

All new Chicago civic facilities must meet the Silver standard set by LEED.

11.28.06: Montgomery County's new "Green Building Law" which was passed November 28, 2006 and will become mandatory by September 1, 2008, will require nonresidential buildings over 10,000 square feet to achieve a LEED Silver rating (Earth Times).

In June 2005, Portland, OR, - see below - joined Scottsdale, Arizona as the second city in the U.S. to require LEED Gold certification for City facilities.  Vancouver, BC also requires all of their municipal facilities to achieve LEED Gold. 

11.02.04: San Francisco has announced the adoption of a Green Building Ordinance, which requires that all new projects, including city-owned facilities and leaseholds, achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

In 2000, the City of Seattle adopted its Sustainable Building Policy requiring new city buildings to attain a Silver LEEDcertification rating.  City departments were instructed to design and construct both new and renovated City facilities greater than 5,000 square feet so that they achieve a Silver LEED rating.


United States of America - Governments

New York City, New York
 - August, 2009:
The New York Buildings Department's Green Roof and Solar Tax Abatement Program Team have revised the PC1 form to reflect new required items - PTA3 and PTA4 Abatement Eligibility Approval - that must be checked off in order to be considered for a green roof or solar panel property tax abatement (respectively). The revised PC1 form may be found in Plan/ Work & Permits in the Forms section of their website, For details, visit the New York Buildings >Sustainability>Green Roofs page.

May, 2009:  The New York Buildings Department launched a new process for Green Roofs and Solar Electric Generating Systems tax abatements.  This process will involve new job filing and abatement application filing procedures in the New York City boroughs for 2010 thru 2013.  Listed below are links that will assist you with this process and answer many questions you may have:

Fact Sheet
Tax Abatement Forms
Frequently Asked Questions
NYS Legislation for Green Roof
NYS Legislation for Solar Electric Generating System
Department of Buildings Rule
Department of Buildings Construction Codes.

All inquiries regarding the application process and requirements should be sent to the Department at  For prompt and current updates about this, and other department initiatives, please sign up for the Buildings News.

March 10, 2009:  Solar and Green Roof Tax Abatements.  The following documents will help you apply for a tax abatement in New York City for new solar and/or green roof projects:

1. Solar and Green Roof Tax Abatement Checklist
2. PTA1: Property Tax Abatement Application and Agreement for the Installation of a Green Roof
3. PTA2: Property Tax Abatement Application and Agreement for the Installation of Solar Panels

Please utilize the Checklist as an outline as to the needs of the Department of Buildings.

Links for the legislation for NYC green roofs can be found at:

and for Solar Panels:

Also, there's a new New York City rule that implements Titles 4-B and 4-C of Article 4 of the Real Property Tax Law for property tax abatements.  These Green Roof and Solar Electric Generating System Tax Abatement Rules (PDF) were published in “The City Record” on March 12, 2009 which is its effective date.

These rules are available for viewing on the DOB website.

For more info, contact Bonnie Gerard, Strategic Planning & Implementation, Project Manager NYC 2010 Electrical Code & Special Projects at: 212-442-1239 (t); 212-566-3865 (f);

PlaNYC, December 16, 2008:  New York City released its PlaNYC Sustainable Stormwater Management Plan.  The sixth initiative under PlaNYC's Water Quality goal calls for an Interagency Best Management Practices (BMP) Task Force to coordinate stormwater planning issues.  They will be releasing their draft rules for our green roof tax abatement in the near future.

You can download the Plan and appendices here.  Formed in May 2007, the Task Force brings together all relevant City agencies to analyze ways to incorporate source control stormwater management techniques, known as BMPs, into the design and construction of both public and private projects to reduce pollution from untreated discharges and combined sewer overflows.

The Sustainable Stormwater Management Plan is the culmination of the Task Force’s efforts. To see the plan, click on the following links:

Download the Final Sustainable Stormwater Management Plan (in PDF).
Appendices to the Final Sustainable Stormwater Management Plan (in PDF).

August 8, 2008:  GOVERNOR PATERSON SIGNS LAWS TO HELP SPUR INVESTMENT IN RENEWABLE ENERGY - The A.11226 Diaz R/S.7553 Lanza bill was signed by New York State Governor Paterson and deals with the tax abatement for renewable energy, providing a tax abatement for construction of green roofs in New York City.  Read the Press Release from New York State.

June 24, 2008:  Building owners in New York City who install green rooftops will now receive a significant tax credit under a bill (A.11226) sponsored by Assemblyman Ruben Diaz Jr. that passed the state legislature on June 24, 2008.

Under this law, building owners in New York City who install green roofs on at least 50 percent of available rooftop space can apply for a one-year property tax credit of up to $100,000. The credit would be equal to $4.50 per square-foot of roof area that is planted with vegetation, or approximately 25 percent of the typical costs associated with the materials, labor, installation and design of the green roof. Read the Press Release from Sustainable South Bronx.


Bronx Borough, New York - September, 2006:  Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr., and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC) have established the Bronx Initiative for Energy and the Environment (BIEE). This initiative has created three separate partnership funds: The Bronx Partnership for Electric Transportation, the Bronx Partnership for Environmental Benefit, and the Bronx Partnership for Residential and Commercial Energy Efficiency and New Technology. The goal of the initiative is to demonstrate pathways to a greener Bronx.

The Bronx Environmental Revolving Loan Fund is designed to provide zero interest loans to Bronx businesses and building owners that implement energy efficient measures and/or new technology, which improves the air quality of our borough.

Eligible Companies:
For-profit companies, non-profit organizations and housing corporations operating in the Bronx.

Eligible Uses:
Implementation of energy-efficient measures, including
Electric/alternative fuel machinery and equipment;
Boiler retrofit;
New technology to reduce air pollution and/or cause energy savings, e.g.:
Green roofs and other greening measures;
Solar technology:
Wind technology
Customized energy surveys
Size of Loan:
Minimum $10,000; Maximum $500,000

Example of how the Environmental Revolving Loan Fund could be used for subsidizing a greenroof:
Company B needs to replace its roof. A green roof (a roof planted with specific vegetation) lasts twice as long as a conventional roof, reduces the cost of cooling the floor underneath it by 40% and reduces noise and air pollution. A conventional roof costs $8-$10/sq. ft.; a green roof costs $12-$20/sq. ft. The Environmental Revolving Loan Fund will cover the difference.

Read more at the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC) website.


City of Annapolis, Maryland - 2008: The county will offer up to a $10,000 tax credit for people who try to reduce stormwater pollution on their property, allowing people to deduct from their property taxes the cost of installing stormwater reduction technology, including greenroofs.  Read:

Stormwater tax credit passes
Annapolis Capital,
by Erin Cox
January 14, 2008

Annapolis, MD. "The county will offer up to a $10,000 tax credit for people who try to reduce stormwater pollution on their property...The tax credit allows people to deduct from their property taxes the cost of installing rain gardens, green roofs, pervious pavement and other types of technology that help stormwater seep into the ground instead of rushing down slopes and roads, picking up pollutants and carrying them into the Chesapeake Bay..."


State of Illinois, Illinois Energy Plan - August 24, 2009. The Illinois Energy Office administers a portfolio of programs designed to invest in the development of Illinois’ Green Economy including renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, green buildings, biofuels, and more.

The additional funding under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for the State Energy Program will allow DCEO to develop new programs and expand current programs in order to fund cost-effective energy projects that create and retain Illinois jobs, reduce energy consumption (and costs), increase renewable energy capacity, reduce green house gas emissions, and leverage private funds.

The Illinois Energy Plan is the most comprehensive and innovative program to date to address the state’s energy needs. This investment is important to the state’s overall economic recovery and will strengthen Illinois’ position as a leader in Sustainable, Clean, Renewable, American Energy.

Energy Efficiency:
The development of Green roofs offers strong environmental, ecological, and economic benefits. This program will facilitate the development of green roofs in the state of Illinois. Eligible projects include those where a building roof will be partially or completely covered with vegetation and soil, or a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. Green roofs will provide economic development, a carbon capture system and energy and maintenance cost savings.

Click Here for the GREEN ROOFS PROGRAM Application.

For complete info, visit the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website.


City of Chicago, Illinois - 2008:  Currently the city of Chicago, IL is leading the way in the U.S. with aggressive sustainable design measures which include promoting greenroofs, with over 300 projects totaling 4 million square feet planned or built (July, 2008).  Policies and Incentives: MISSION STATEMENT.  "In general, Chicago promotes green buildings through awards, grants, design competitions and fairs. For example, It expedites the building-permit process for approved builders of green buildings, waives a service fee for developers installing green roofs and provides a series of guides for homeowners renovating or rehabilitating their homes. In addition, any public or publicly funded building has to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification standard, set by the U.S. Green Building Council," (Chicago Derives Many Benefits from Green Buildings, NewsBlaze, by Andrzej Zwaniecki May 29, 2008).  See the website devoted to Chicago Green Roofs - Guide for Building Green Roofs in Chicago.

The City of Chicago stimulates demand for green buildings and green roofs by creating policies and incentives targeted to developers, building owners and managers, homeowners, insurance providers, and the financial community. To facilitate adoption of green building practices, they pledge to educate the larger community of building professionals and the general public about the benefits of sustainable building for individuals, neighborhoods, and the city.

September, 2007, 2006, 2005:  The Green Roof Grant Program 2006 for Residential and Small Commercial Buildings: Since 2005, the Green Roof Grants Program helped realize more than 20 green roof projects throughout Chicago per year. Building on this success from 2005, the City of Chicago Department of Environment is giving an increased number of $5000 grants to assist with residential or small commercial green roof projects. "Small commercial" is a building with a footprint of less than 10,000 square feet.

Sessions on the Program are held at the Chicago Center for Green Technology, 445 North Sacramento Avenue. Successful projects are announced in December.  Grants will assist in realizing new green roof projects throughout the City.  Projects are selected in a ‘blind’ process and evaluation criteria included project location, visibility, project type as well as overall environmental benefit. Read about them here, at the City of Chicago Department of Environment website.  Read more online or from the Department of Environment, 30 North LaSalle Street, 25th Floor, Chicago, IL.  Questions?  Call 312.744.7606.

May, 2006:  The city began a pilot program entitled the "GRIF TIF" - Green Roof Improvement Fund Tax Increment Financing - offering matching funds up to $100,000 to put green roofs on downtown buildings, drawing $500,000 from the Central Loop Tax Increment Financing District.  "At $10 per square foot, that's enough to fund five to 10 projects," said Michael Berkshire of the city's Department of Planning and Development.  Read "City Hall's spreading the green: Will help fund more planted roofs" in the June 29, 2006 Chicago Sun-Times, by Gary Wisby.

2005:  Green Roof Initiative: Over 120 public & private greenroof projects totaling between 1.5 and 2 million sf were constructed in Chicago, and these numbers exclude Millennium Park and Soldier Field.

Density Bonuses - According to EPA Smart Growth Policy Information, "To create attractive commercial and business districts, the City of Chicago increases development square footage, known as floor area premiums, when such developments include public amenities. Public amenities include plazas, pocket parks, block connections, greenroofs, transit improvements, and wider sidewalks among others."  The Chicago Department of Zoning states, "A floor area premium shall be granted for a roof that is covered with plants that reduce the 'urban heat island' effect and storm-water runoff of buildings in the central business district. To qualify for a floor area premium, a minimum of 50 % of the roof area at the level of the green roof or a minimum of 2000 square feet (whichever is greater) shall be covered by vegetation and shall meet..." certain standards.

The City Zoning Ordinance is available online -  click Article 8: Business Districts, Section 8.5: Floor Area Ratio, scroll down.  Contact Information: City of Chicago Planning Department, 121 North LaSalle Street, #1000 Chicago, IL 60602 Phone: 312.744.9476 Fax: 312.744.2271

2004: Building Green/Green Roof Matrix - Allows “Fast-Tracking” of Permitting to encourage green building for builders who commit to green standards, including greenroofs.  The City of Chicago's Building Green/Green Roof policy applies to construction projects that receive public assistance or are subject to review by the Department of Planning and Development as a "Planned Development" or a "Lakefront Protection Ordinance Development." The policy is summarized in the matrix (see above). The matrix illustrates what projects are subject to the policy and what green strategies are being promoted through the policy.

June, 2002:  The Chicago Energy Conservation Ordinance went into effect on June 3, 2002 and includes a chapter from Chicago's Urban Heat Island Reduction Initiative which states minimum ASTM standards of solar reflectance and emissivity.  The ordinance requires all new and refurbished roofs to install greenroofs or reflective roofing.  The ordinance had originally been set for implementation for January, 2002, but the City allowed additional time for public awareness and offered workshops to developers, designers and other interested parties.  The Ordinance is based on requirements from the International Energy Conservation Code (Green Roof Infrastructure Monitor, Winter 2002).  For additional info, please contact

November, 2001:  The City of Chicago produced a 10-page PDF booklet entitled "Chicago's Green Rooftops: A Guide to Rooftop Gardening."

2001-2001: Municipal greenroof installed on Chicago City Hall.


City of Los Angeles, California - 2006:  The City of Los Angeles Environmental Affairs Department (EAD), established in 1990, is the chief advisor to the City on environmental matters. It proactively brings together people and resources to educate and develop ways to improve the Los Angeles environment. By restoring habitats, creating innovative alternatives, assisting businesses and revitalizing communities, EAD makes LA a better place to live.

Read the 64-page PDF entitled "Green Roofs - Cooling Los Angeles, A Resource Guide."  This resource guide has been prepared in partial response to Los Angeles City Council motion CF#04-0074, Incorporate Rooftop Green Spaces as an Energy Efficiency Mechanism. This motion directed the Environmental Affairs Department (EAD) to lead the formation of a City task force for the purpose of developing and implementing “…a process, program, or procedure that will require City facilities to incorporate rooftop green spaces as an energy efficiency mechanism…” To support the Green Roof Task Force, the EAD researched green roof options and assembled information on numerous case studies and guideline development efforts in North America, Europe, and Japan. EAD subsequently utilized consultant assistance to expand and summarize the available research, determine its applicability to potential projects in the Los Angeles area, and incorporate practical and procedural information from the Task Force members into a plan for the development of green roofs in the City of Los Angeles. This document is intended to serve as a reference guide to facilitate green roof development by the City as well as other public entities and private building owners within Los Angeles.

For more info, please contact: Environmental Affairs Department, City of Los Angeles, 200 N. Spring Street., Suite 2005, Los Angeles, CA 90012, or visit the website: or E-mail:


City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin - December 16, 2009:  Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District's 2010 Regional Green Roof Initiative Program:  The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (DISTRICT) is inviting units of government, organizations, school districts, and businesses within its 28-community service area to participate in the 2010 Regional Green Roof Initiative Program.  If a proposed project is accepted in this program, the PARTNER will be required to enter into either an interagency agreement or contractual arrangement with the DISTRICT.  The agreement will contain provisions relative to responsibilities as outlined in this Request for Proposal (RFP).  Projects selected for funding must be completed in 2010.  Funding is initially designated to pay for retrofitting buildings with modular green roof technology; however, consideration also will be given to projects proposing integrated green roofs if the projects can adhere to the conditions of this RFP.

Interested parties are to print the RFP off the DISTRICT’s Web site.  The MMSD’s interest in green roofs is in capturing rainwater on our region’s rooftops and keeping it out of our regional sewer system.  Doing so will help reduce polluted stormwater runoff and combined and separated sewer overflows to Lake Michigan. For more information you can download the press
release from we energies regarding the Initiative along with a Green Roof Program Notice and RFP from MMSD (this RFP is located in the Procurement section of the DISTRICT’s Web site) All inquiries regarding this RFP should be directed to: James P. Morgan, Senior Contract Administrator, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, 260 West Seeboth Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204-1446; Telephone: (414) 225-2132; Fax : (414) 271-0829; E-Mail:  Learn more at the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District's website.

Proposals were due by 10 a.m. on Feb. 12, 2010.


City of Portland, Oregon - January, 2010 update: City of Portland to Offer Ecoroof Incentives
The ecoroof grant program is part of the City of Portland's Grey to Green effort to accelerate increase sustainable stormwater management practices, control non-native, invasive plants, and protect sensitive natural areas, over $800,000 will be spent on the incentive in this fiscal year, and will make funds available over the next three years. The city currently has about nine acres of ecoroofs scattered among more than 90 buildings. The Grey to Green goal is to add 43 acres of new ecoroofs in five years, starting from 2008.

The incentive grants will pay up to $5 per square foot for new ecoroof projects.  Installation costs for ecoroofs in Portland can range from $5 to $20 per square foot.  Industrial, residential, commercial and mixed-use projects are eligible for the incentive program.

Applications of incentive applications will be available in April 2010 for the next cycle that begins in the summer of 2010.  See the September, 2009 Ecoroof Incentive Program brochure here, and the grant application packet can be downloaded here (PDF). Visit the Ecoroof Incentive Program website here or call 503.823.7914.

Also visit the Working Green for Clean Rivers website here.

Ecoroof Plant Report Now Available
The ecoroof plant report presents information about the most sustainable ecoroof plants in Portland, Oregon and gives guidance on the plant selection for various ecoroof site conditions. This report presents information from the 2003 Plant Survival Findings in the Pacific Northwest report and from recent assessments of 15 ecoroofs and 18 plants in Portland. The report also describes experiences of local designers and maintenance personnel with ecoroofs.

Copies are available online at

2007: See the City of Portland, Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) website,, and see the Ecoroofs page.  As of mid April 2007 over 130 ecoroofs have been installed in Portland since 1996.

Portland Policies and Incentives that Support Ecoroof Installations (Tom Liptan, April, 2007):

1. City Public Works Code 17.38: Stormwater Management 1999;
2. City Zoning Code 33.510 FAR Bonus: Ecoroofs added in spring 2001;
3. City Resolution passed in 2005 requires all city owned buildings to install Ecoroofs when re-roofing or on new buildings;
4. BES -Watershed Stewardship Grants have funded 8 Ecoroofs;
5. OSD -Green Investment Grant have funded 9 Ecoroofs;
6. BES distributes EPA Grant money for demo projects; $40,000 for ecoroof;
7. BES has contributed $275,000 for ecoroof demo projects 1999-present;
8. Clean River Reward –Ecoroofs potentially qualify for full reward;
9. BES and Office of Sustainable Development provide technical assistance, Planning Bureau staff also provide some assistance;
10. BES, PSU, Metro and Multnomah Co. are monitoring Ecoroof performance.

June, 2005:  On Page 11 of Portland’s Green Building Policy: A Status Report and Recommendations PDF see "Ecoroofs: Require design and construction of all new City-owned facilities to include an ecoroof with at least 70% coverage AND high reflectance, Energy Star-rated roof material on any remaining non-ecoroof surface area; OR, Energy Star-rated roof when an integrated ecoroof/ Energy Star-rated roof is impractical."  On Page 12 see "Ecoroofs: Require all roof replacement projects on City-owned facilities to install an ecoroof AND high reflectance, Energy Star-rated roof on any remaining non-ecoroof roof surface area; OR, when an integrated ecoroof/Energy Star-rated roof is impractical, install an Energy Star-rated roof."  Read the entire PDF of Portland's new recommended LEED Gold program for all new, city-owned facilities construction projects, increasing LEED certification from “Certified” to “Gold.”

2003:  The City of Portland developed a 12-page Questions and Answers brochure on green roofing, which can be found under How To's.

July, 2002:  The City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development (OSD) introduced "Portland LEED," the first U.S. Green Building Council approved local supplement to the USGBC Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system.  To view the entire City of Portland's 2002 Stormwater Management Manual click here:  Or click on the following for Chapter 2 only: "Chapter 2.0 - Simplified Approach to Stormwater Management."

Tom Liptan, ASLA, a landscape architect and stormwater specialist for the City of Portland OR, Bureau of Environmental Services, has been the advocate for ecoroofs in Portland.   He may be contacted directly at 503.823.7267 or for more specifics on what he and his department is planning and have accomplished in the area of greenroof subsidies.

The City of Portland also has their greenbuilding website -, to inform people on the various city programs now available to promote sustainable development, including eco or greenroofs.  Ecoroofs are included under the Technologies area; for further info, please contact: Rob Bennett, City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development G/Rated - Green Building Program 1120 SW 5th Ave, Room 706, Portland, OR  97204; Phone: 503.823.7082; Fax: 503.823.5370;;


City of Seattle, Washington - 2007:  Seattle Mayor Greg Nichols is one of the greenest mayors in the U.S. and a champion of high performance buildings.  The City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development has an excellent website devoted to green building and specifically greenroofs here, including the following topics:

What Is A Green Roof?
Seattle Incentives, Technical Guidelines and Research - of particular interest, see below.
Green Roof Monitoring and Evaluation
Green Roof Case Studies
Green Roof Design and Research Resources

Seattle Incentives, Technical Guidelines and Research:

Seattle currently has an impervious surface reduction credit that lists green roofs and roof gardens as acceptable strategies. See Appendix B of the Flow Control Technical Requirements Manual. Additionally, the LEED green building certification program offers a point for a green roof. Given the proven marketing value of LEED certification, this too could be considered an incentive for green roofs.

Seattle Green Factor
As of January 21, 2007, the new Seattle Green Factor requirements (for 30% equivalent plant coverage on commercial developments in Neighborhood Commercial (NC) zones) can be met in part through use of green roofs. Learn how at the Green Factor design and permitting page.

Technical Guidelines
Technical guidelines for building green roofs in Seattle are currently in development, and will be posted here when complete. Meanwhile, please find links to existing resources, design and case study examples below.

Ongoing study and modeling for stormwater code development
Green roofs have the potential to reduce roof runoff and delay peak flows during storms. Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is attempting to quantify the stormwater benefits, to help us credit green roofs in our city stormwater code.

SPU is helping to standardize green roof modeling methods through use of the Western Washington Hydrologic Model (WWHM), commonly used by stormwater design engineers. The WWHM model has been modified to include a green roof/eco-roof modeling element, which has been calibrated using monitoring data from Portland. In a few years this model will be further updated using local monitoring data. See Eco-roof Stormwater Modeling Memo.

SPU is currently collecting rainfall and runoff flow data on several city buildings (the Zoomazium, Ballard Branch Library, Ross Park Shelterhouse starting in fall 2007, and possibly the new Fire Station 10 starting 2008). SPU is also conducting limited grab-sampling of runoff water quality to see if new green roofs are likely to add nutrients to stormwater draining to streams, lakes and Puget Sound.

As a result of stormwater modeling, Seattle currently has a trial Stormwater Code Exception Policy for the South Lake Union area, that allows green roofs to partially satisfy stormwater code.

April, 2006:  Commercial Incentives and Assistance from the City of Seattle are offered to LEED projects, tailored to developers who incorporate green features into new commercial projects.

The Density Bonus Incentive - On April 12, 2006, Mayor Nickels signed new downtown zoning legislation updating rules for the central office core and adjoining areas, including Denny Triangle and a portion of Belltown. Changes in the new regulations were made to provide greater heights and/or greater floor area for commercial and residential buildings. To gain greater height or density, projects must achieve a LEED Silver rating or higher, as well as contribute to affordable housing and other public amenities. The zoning changes also offer greater transferable development rights for historic structures.


Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota - 2001: The Metropolitan Council Environmental Services has issued the "Minnesota Urban Small Sites BMP Manual," July 2001, and it includes a chapter on greenroofs.  The Metropolitan Council is the regional planning agency for the seven county Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area who also operate the wastewater, transit, airport and regional parks systems.  The BMP manual is intended for the nonpoint source technical assistance program, and will be used by the 180 or so communities in the region.  The chapter was prepared by Barr Engineering Company as one of 40 BMPs that the metro area is focusing on (Gary Oberts, personal communications, May 2001).


City of Salt Lake City, Utah - 2006:  The Salt Lake City Council passed an ordinance requiring new buildings that use city money to be environmentally friendly. The ordinance requires city-funded buildings of at least 10,000 square feet to become certified by the U.S. Green Building Council under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.


District of Columbia: 

January, 2012:  The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) is once again providing rebates, at $5 per square foot, for green roofs to qualified applicants for the third consecutive year. The Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) is administering the program for the DDOE on a first-come, first-served basis for qualified DC buildings of any size.  This program is available for residential, commercial and institutional properties.

You can begin the application process by visiting and clicking on Green Roof Rebate Program in the right column. For more information, or to register, contact us at 202-557-5814 or 301-699-6204 or You can also read "Greening the District with Green Roofs" by Laura S. Washington, Green Roof Rebate Program Coordinator, Anacostia Watershed Society of March 16, 2012 in our Sky Gardens Blog.

2007-2009:  DC Greenworks administered DDOE’s green roof subsidy program for roofs under 4,000 sf.  DC Greenworks, a 501 c3 non-profit, is the national capital region's preeminent greenroof advocate and educator, as well as a one stop shop for greenroof consultation, design, and installation.

This program is funded by the Government of the District of Columbia, District Department of the Environment, Watershed Protection Division. As of 2009, the Green Roof Subsidy was $5.00 per square foot, up to $20,000.00 per project. To be eligible for consideration for participation in the Green Roof Subsidy Demonstration Program a building must be located in the District of Columbia and meet the following:

Greenroof project up to 4,000 sf (new and retrofit);
Vegetated cover over at least 50% of the available roof space (excluding skylights and utilities);
Growing medium depth of at least 3 inches.


Pennsylvania State - According to the Green Roof Infrastructure Monitor, "the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts identified greenroof infrastructure as a stormwater best management practice in their 'Pennsylvania Handbook of Best Management Practices for Developing Areas.'"(GRIM Autumn 2000).  See Charlie Miller's “Vegetated Roof Covers: A New Method for Controlling Runoff in Urbanized Areas.” publication in the "Proceedings of the 1998 Pennsylvania Stormwater Management Symposium" (October 21-23, 1998): 1-10.


Washington State - 2005:  Washington became the first state in the U.S. to require new prisons, offices, schools, colleges and other publicly funded buildings to meet a national green building environmental standard.  All publicly funded buildings over 5,000 square feet to achieve a LEEDcertification rating from The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).  Read Seattle leads 'green' wave in building: New state law paves way for environmentally friendly construction,, by Debera Carlton Harrell of April 22, 2005.

2000:  The City of Seattle adopted its Sustainable Building Policy requiring new city buildings to attain a Silver LEEDcertification rating.  City departments were instructed to design and construct both new and renovated City facilities greater than 5,000 square feet so that they achieve a Silver LEED rating.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is launching a new strategy to promote the use of green infrastructure by cities and towns to reduce stormwater runoff that pollutes our nation’s streams, creeks, rivers, lakes and coastal waters. Green infrastructure decreases pollution to local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems. In addition to protecting Americans’ health by decreasing water pollution, green infrastructure provides many community benefits including increased economic activity and neighborhood revitalization, job creation, energy savings and increased recreational and green space. Stormwater is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in the nation. Large volumes of polluted stormwater degrade our nation’s rivers, lakes and aquatic habitats and contribute to downstream flooding. Green infrastructure captures and filters pollutants by passing stormwater through soils and retaining it on site.

Effective green infrastructure tools and techniques include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, rain gardens and rain harvesting systems. Click here to view the press release for this event. [4.29.11]

January 17, 2008: The U.S. EPA, with state and national partners, released a comprehensive plan to reduce runoff and increase environmental and economic benefits for communities on 1.17.08. The Municipal Handbook is a series of documents to help local officials implement green infrastructure in their communities.  The strategy will help reduce stormwater runoff and sewer overflows by promoting “green infrastructure” approaches, such as green roofs, trees and tree boxes, rain gardens, and porous pavements.

Visit the US EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Green Infrastructure Municipal Handbook page.  Specifically in the Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure Handbook Series:

Funding Options (PDF) September, 2008
Retrofit Policies (PDF) January, 2009
Green Streets (PDF) January, 2009
Rainwater Harvesting Policies (PDF) January, 2009

Also see: Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure Action Strategy 2008 (PDF) of 1.17.08.

December, 2007: The EPA released "Reducing Stormwater Costs through Low Impact Development (LID) Strategies and Practices" - a report (PDF) providing information to cities, counties, states, private-sector developers and others on the costs and benefits of using Low Impact Development (LID) strategies. This report summarizes 17 case studies of developments that include LID practices and concludes that applying LID techniques can reduce project costs and improve environmental performance.

Readers interested in increasing their knowledge about LID and Green Infrastructure should visit their following pages: Green Infrastructure and LID links.

The U.S. EPA issued a memo to highlight opportunities for EPA Regional Administrators to increase the development and use of green infrastructure in water program implementation. The report, "Using Green Infrastructure to Protect Water Quality in Stormwater, CSO, Non Point Source, and other Water Programs" recognizes the value of green infrastructure techniques and encourages their use in reducing water quality problems.  Common green infrastructure approaches include green roofs, trees and tree boxes, rain gardens, vegetated swales, pocket wetlands, infiltration planters, vegetated median strips, reforestation, and protection and enhancement of riparian buffers and floodplains." Read more, PDF (March, 2007).

2006:  Also see: "Rooftops to Rivers: Green strategies for controlling stormwater and combined sewer overflows" (NRDC, June 2006, PDF).


Canada - Organizations

Green Roofs for Healthy CitiesGreen Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) is the North American professional green roof organization, who in addition to promoting the industry, produces the annual Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards, and Trade Show - now rebranded as CitiesAlive for the 8th Annual Conference - as well as the regional Symposia, and various green roof and green wall trainings, including the Green Roofs 101, 201, 301, 401 and other courses.  GRHC also administers the Green Roof Professional (GRP) accreditation and conducts a yearly study of corporate members' completed projects to determine growth.


Canada - Governments

City of Port Coquitlam, B.C.

In 2002, the City of Port Coquitlam created a strategic plan for the organization to establish the long-term direction and guide the City in its planning and decision-making.  The first green roof regulation in Canada, a Zoning bylaw amendment was adopted by Council on December 11, 2006, which requires greenroofs for all large format buildings over 5,000 m² (53,821 sf).  The primary purpose is to obtain environmental benefits including intercepting and reducing storm water runoff, improving building thermal performance and energy consumption, and reducing the urban heat island effect.  Secondary benefits would relate to enhanced views where dwelling units or offices overlook the roofs and increasing biodiversity.  The estimated higher cost of 10% is normally recovered within the first two years of building operation and the energy savings and storm- water reductions continuing for the life of the building.  Greenroofs typically last twice as long as traditional roofs because the temperature is regulated.

Port Coquitlam has over 200 acres of land remaining to be developed in its commercial/industrial park.  "As part of the Zoning Bylaw, a variance may be approved by Council when the business case for a greenroof may not work for a particular site, such as large, unheated industrial storage.  A "meet or beat" variance to site design, using the benefit criteria listed above, can be considered by Council.  This provides for the environmental and social benefits while still meeting economic viability. This 'win-win' variance process allows for sustainable site design, new jobs and tax revenue for our community," (City of Port Coquitlam).

Read the City of Port Coquitlam Sustainability Initiatives page with the Green Roof Regulation here.


City of Toronto, Ontario

May 26, 2009: Toronto City Council Adopts Mandatory Greenroof Requirements.  The City of Toronto  became the first City in North America to adopt a new greenroof by-law on new development with overwhelming support on May 26, 2009. The bylaw will apply to all new building permit applications made after January 31, 2010 (residential, commercial and institutional) and January 31, 2011 for all new industrial development.

The greenroof by-law consists of a greenroof construction standard and a mandatory requirement for green roofs on all classes of new buildings above 2,000 m² (about 21,530 sf) of Gross Floor Area and have a graduated coverage requirement ranging from 20-60%. The by-law includes multi-unit residential dwellings over six stories, schools, non-profit housing, commercial and industrial buildings. Larger residential projects require greater green roof coverage, ranging anywhere from 20 to 50 per cent of the roof area.

Working with a program budget of $800,000/year, owners of industrial and commercial buildings can apply for incentives worth $50 (Canadian) per square meter up to up to $100,000 to build a greenroof, on a one-year pilot basis. Toronto Mayor David Miller predicts the rules and incentives will create 50 to 60 green-roofed buildings per year, in addition to the 135 Toronto already has (Mayor Miller has chosen not to run again for mayor in 2010).

Applications for the Eco-Roof Incentive Grants will be accepted twice a year – once in the spring and once in the fall. The next application session deadline is for Spring, which opens February 1, 2010 and the Application Deadline is April 2, 2010. Download an Eco-Roof Incentive Program Application Form (PDF).  For more information on past award recipients and how to apply for funding, visit LiveGreen Toronto.

February 2009Eco-Roof incentive program:  A new Eco-Roof incentive program was launched at the end of February 2009 on the LiveGreen Toronto website.  Toronto’s Eco-Roof Incentive Program is designed to promote the use of green and cool roofs on Toronto’s commercial, industrial and institutional buildings, and help Toronto’s business community take action on climate change.  

June 2007:  The City of Toronto released its 58-page PDF entitled Green "Vegetative" Roof Building Standard for the City of Toronto on June 20, 2007.

Scope and Objectives of this Study:

The Toronto Green Roof Design Standard is to provide City Staff with the technical foundation necessary for the development of a Green Roof By-law consistent with the City of Toronto Act, and to provide certainty and clarity for the green building industry active in Toronto.

This standard is not intended to be a textbook on the design of green roofs but provide certainty and clarity for builders, developers, manufacturers and designers when designing and building green roofs in the City of Toronto.
The scope of the Standard shall provide recommendations for design requirements of a Toronto green roof building standard and include analysis of how identified potential green roof standards will support the City’s key policy objectives and performance criteria. The Standard is to address:

a) New construction and retrofit;
b) Small and large scale residential buildings; and
c) Industrial, commercial and institutional buildings.

October 2006:  A new 2-year pilot program was created to encourage green roof construction in Toronto. Subsidies of $10 per square meter and up to a maximum of $20,000 Canadian ($18,000) were available to private property owners for new and retrofit green roof projects.

March 2006:  From the City of Toronto's greenroof website: "City Council committed to greening of Toronto Roofs - City Council approved a Green Roofs strategy promoting the use of city rooftops to grow gardens and other vegetation. The strategy includes a commitment to install green roofs on new and existing buildings owned by the City whenever practical. Council also endorsed initiatives to provide financial incentives for the creation of green roofs. Follow the Green Roof strategy's progression from consultation to adoption."  Read the 42-page PDF "Making Green Roofs Happen" and the Consolidated Clause in Policy and Finance Committee Report 1, which was considered by City Council on January 31, February 1 and 2, 2006."

See the City of Toronto's website dedicated to promoting green roofs in Toronto. Ryerson University was selected to research the initial citywide benefits of green roofs, and the results are documented in the 88-page "Report on the Environmental Benefits and Costs of Green Roof Technology for the City of Toronto," (PDF) prepared by Ryerson University. From the City's website read all about the study findings of the citywide benefits of green roofs in Toronto for the following in: stormwater, energy consumption, urban heat island effect, air quality and emissions, and other city benefits.

February 2006:  On February 1 City Council approved a commitment to install green roofs on new and existing buildings owned by the City, whenever practical to do so. For example, green roofs are to be considered for existing municipal buildings when roofs are due to be replaced. For new City-owned buildings, the Green Roofs strategy sets a target of green roofs covering 50 to 75 per cent of a building's footprint. Council also recommended that a pilot program of financial incentives be initiated this year for the construction of green roofs - read the City of Toronto Press Release here.

2001: The City of Toronto continues to work on their "Wet Weather Flow Management Master Plan," which should include greenroof infrastructure as stormwater mitigation.  In May of 2001 members of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities provided a tour of the Toronto City Hall Green Roof Demonstration Project to participants in the Plan (GRIM, Spring 2001). For more Plan info, please contact Tracy Ehl, Senior Public Consultation Coordinator at 416.392.2996; 1.800.465.4056 or at


2002:  In December, 2002, the offices of noted landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander were commissioned by the Public Works and Government Services Canada/Travaux publics et Services gouvernement aux Canada to write the "Introductory Manual for Greening Roofs for Public Works and Government Services Canada" (37 page .pdf).  Compiled by Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, CM, FCSLA, FASLA, Elisabeth Whitelaw, CSLA and Eva Matsuzaki, MAIBC, FRAIC, hon FAIA, the manual is an excellent greenroof resource.


Government of Hong Kong - 2007: The Architectural Services Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has issued a Study on Green Roof Application in Hong Kong Final Executive Summary (PDF/750KB, by Urbis Limited).  The 12-page document includes a Green Roofs Overview, Design & Technical Guidelines, and Recommendations for greenroof directions for Hong Kong and the way forward.

Download it here from their Knowledge Sharing page.


Japan - 2001:

In a concerted effort to combat the ever rising urban heat island in Tokyo, the new "Tokyo Plan 2000" was implemented on April 1, 2001, requiring new buildings greater than 1,000 square meters (10,000 sf) or over one-quarter acre to green at least 20% of its useable roof space.  The Plan was designed by the municipal government to provide a set of development guidelines for future administrative and financial management of the city.  Plans are in place also for the city of Kobe, but not until 2003, and other Japanese cities are considering similar measures (Yumi Habuka, Personal Communications, May 2002).

Also known as the "Green Tokyo Plan," the ordinance describes the metro area's present ecological state of Tokyo, addressing topics such as the natural environment, greenery in Tokyo, urban greenery and the heat island phenomenon, and global warming.  According to the website listed below, "the plan outlines goals for greening projects and the direction measures should take during the next 15 years."  In the Green Tokyo Plan (see Page 36), the target for rooftop and other greenery is 1,200 hectares by 2015.  Garden roofs are highly touted as an excellent measure to bring nature back into the city and ease various ecological problems.  Six effects of rooftop greenery are listed:  1) Mitigating the heat island phenomenon; 2) Serving as a greenery dam to temporarily store rainwater; 3) Easing air pollution; 4) Preventing global warming; 5) Softening a barren urban landscape; and  6) Supporting the existence of various living creatures.

"According to the ordinance on natural preservation, greening areas must be provided on the premises and on rooftops when buildings are newly constructed or extended in an area larger than 1,000 m2 for private facilities and in an area larger than 250 m2 for public facilities.  Plans must be also submitted to include rooftop greenery for new construction with a total floor area exceeding 10,000m2 according to the Ordinance on Environmental Preservation. (English version)"  The entire English version of the site can be accessed here, and specifically the "Green Tokyo Plan" here.

According to an article in the New York Times, over the past century Tokyo temperatures have increased five times as fast as global warming.  Certainly black rooftops and concrete buildings bear a large portion of the reason, but reports say the city is greatly lacking in greenspace.  Only 14% of central Tokyo has any planted or green areas, which is less than New York City or London (Brooke, New York Times, 2002).

The city of Tokyo would like to green 1,200 hectares of roofs within the next 10 years, and with the additional green roofspace expects temperatures to lower by at least one degree Celsius.  Currently the plan only applies to flat roofs with fences, but further investigation into tax and other financial incentives should encourage more greenroof development.  From 2000 to 2001, over 4 hectares (40,000 square meters) of rooftops were greened (GRIM, Winter, 2001).

Please read various articles relating to the Tokyo Plan 2000 under NEWS LINKS.  To read the entire greenroof regulations and code for the Tokyo Green Building Program from the City of Tokyo in Japanese, click here:


Singapore - 2010
Green Roof Incentive Scheme:
The government of Singapore says green roofs are not just for new buildings. Existing buildings can be retrofitted with extensive green roofs to provide all of the advantages that green roofs offer. Singapore National Parks (NParks) has introduced the Green Roof Incentive Scheme to encourage owners of existing buildings to green their rooftops. Under the scheme, NParks will fund up to 50% of installation costs of green roofs to boost the level of skyrise greenery and enhance the city’s image in high activity corridors. The scheme is open to all existing buildings in Downtown Core, Orchard Road, Rochor, Museum, Singapore River and Outram planning areas. The scheme will fund the installation of a continuous surface of plants on a rooftop known as a green roof. A green roof is lightweight enough to be installed on most existing roofs without the need for extensive structural retrofitting.

Additional incentives include the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) LUSH (Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High Rises) which consists of four parts – Landscape Replacement Policy for Strategic Areas; Outdoor Refreshment Area on Landscaped Roof tops; GFA Exemption for Communal Sky Terraces; and Landscaped Deck. This program was designed to consolidate and synergize a number of new and existing green initiatives.

And the BCA Green Mark Certification and Incentive Scheme, launched in January 2005, is an initiative to drive Singapore’s construction industry towards more environment-friendly buildings. Several points in the scoring system can be achieved by installing greenroofs and greenwalls.


Possible North American - U.S. and Canadian - Grants & Funding

U.S. EPA:  According to Architectural Record's Deborah Snoonian, P.E., "Buildings that incorporate green roofing elements may be eligible for grant funding under the EPA's Clean Water Act Section 319, which addresses nonpoint source pollution to lakes, rivers, and streams.  Matching funds from local government agencies may also be available."  You can read her short article in NEWS LINKS.   In case you haven't already done so, also read the online article in NEWS LINKS by Katrin Scholz-Barth, as it addresses some subsidy possibilities.  She also mentions that funding for green roofs can be obtained through the EPA grant program, and in fact, in 2001 Katrin secured a 319 grant for the Montgomery Park greenroof project in Maryland.

According to the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities website, in most states greenroofs can be funded as demonstration projects under Section 319, and can be used to mitigate the impacts of stormwater and combined sewer overflows in developed areas.  Contact your state's nonpoint source (NPS) coordinator for specifics of the EPA grant funding process.

According to Elevated Landscape Technologies (see below), the EPA may fund projects under these following programs:

  • EPA Clean Water Act (Section 319) - Addresses Nonpoint Source Pollution – Grants from $5,000 to $100,00;
  • Drinking Water State Revolving Fund - Office of Water
    Pollution Prevention Grant (PPG); a.k.a. Pollution Prevention Incentives for States (PPIS);
  • Source Reduction Assistance Grants - Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances;
  • Surveys, Studies, Investigations, Demonstrations, and Special Purpose Grants (66.034) - Office of Air and Radiation;
  • Transportation and Air Quality Grants - Office of Transportation and Air Quality;
  • Healthy Communities Grant Program - EPA Region 1;
  • Continuing Program Grants (Clean Air Act Section 105) - EPA Region 5;
  • Project Grants (Clean Air Act Section 103) - EPA Region 5.

For a complete rundown, read the EPA's 2003 Funding for Source Water Protection Activities PDF publication noting federal funding examples for various water protection activities, such as polluted runoff control, resource protection and restoration, and wastewater as well as contact information.


City of Chicago, Illinois:  See Policies and Incentives: MISSION STATEMENT.


City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin:  See Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District's 2010 Regional Green Roof Initiative Program.


City of Portland, Oregon: See City of Portland to Offer Ecoroof Incentives.


New York City, New York: See The New York Buildings Department's Green Roof and Solar Tax Abatement Program.


Canada - The City of Toronto:  Read about the City of Toronto Green Roof Pilot Program for subsidy information.


Elevated Landscape Technologies (ELT) has posted (July, 2005) a very large database of green roof funding for both the U.S. and Canada on their website regarding grants, and project and research funding.  ELT has put a lot of effort into this section of their site and will be constantly adding to it.  If you have any questions regarding the funding itself please forward them to Paul at: as he is the resident funding expert.


For more information regarding Canadian funding read the following article from NewsLinks:

Green Roofs Qualify for Government of Canada Energy Efficiency Funding
Government of Canada Newsroom (press release)
May 12, 2004

Again, many individuals and cities have asked me for this type of specific financial aid information, and many of us here in the U.S. and Canada (Toronto in particular) are further researching this area of extreme importance to forwarding the cause of the many benefits of greenroofs, especially because incentive programs have been so successful in Europe.  Several U.S. undergraduate and graduate students are concentrating research efforts in this area, and I hope to share their information when completed.