Green Roofs – Not All They’re Cracked Up to Be

Cities around the country and in Canada have mandated so-called “green roofs.” They’re often not all they’re cracked up to be…

Safety Issues

“A garden on the rooftop of a notable downtown Seattle skyscraper caught fire…The Seattle fire department later said improperly discarded smoking materials likely caused the fire.”

Seattle Patch, 9/12/2017

Hurting Business

“The trouble is, when you start to get made-in-Toronto rules, you start to drive jobs out of Toronto. That’s the bottom line,” said Paul Martin, owner of truck body manufacturer Del Equipment. “Not that we shouldn’t all be green and struggling to find ways to do it, but you can’t do it in a vacuum.”

The Star, 6/23/2011

Extra Costs

“Implementation of the recommendations contained in this report will not require any additional staff in Toronto Building.  This report proposes no additional fees or increases to fees for building permits to construct green roofs.  Under the 2009 Toronto Building Fee Schedule, the construction of a stand alone green roof is considered ‘Re-roofing with structural work, raise roof structure.’ This 2009 fee is assessed at $4.82/m2.  The report proposes to clarify that this classification of building permits would also apply to stand alone modifications to create a green roof.”

The Star, 6/23/2011

“…according to the town’s engineer, higher structural loads associated with a green roof for a new fire station would have both required a redesign and “limit[ed] the functionality” of the building, in addition to presenting “significant additional costs.”

Green Real Estate Law Journal, 4/5/2012

“It would become one of the strongest mandates for green roofs in the county if it passed – and would ‘follow the lead of San Francisco.’ Perhaps San Francisco doesn’t care about the probability of making its sky-high housing costs even more unaffordable, but Denver should.”

The Denver Post, 5/14/2017