Green Roofs for Healthy Cities aims to establish cost-effective green infrastructure policies to recognize their public benefits and fund their widespread implementation. We do this by tracking a wide range of green roof and wall policies, providing case studies, completing cost-benefit studies and providing support.

Green infrastructure policy is not a one-size-fits-all solution for each municipality. There are many different types of existing policies and programs that can be implemented individually or in combination with each other to meet the needs of each community. Below are explanations of the types of creative policies and programs in Canada and the United States that can be used to increase the installation of green infrastructure.

  • Density/Floor Area Ratio Bonus - Builders are permitted to increase the density of their building by increasing the height of the building or the floor area ratio, when green infrastructure is added to the building.

  • Funding (Grant) - Funding for the installation of specific types of green infrastructure. To receive grant funding, applications must be submitted and approved in advance of construction.

  • Funding (Rebate) - People may be reimbursed for the cost (up to a certain amount) of installing specific types of green infrastructure.

  • Funding (Subsidy) - Property owners make co-payments for part of the cost of the green infrastructure installment.

  • Mandate - Bylaws or policies have been put into place to require green roofs under specific circumstances

  • Residential Stewardship Programs - There are financial incentives and technical support to inspire property owners to volunteer to install and/or maintain green infrastructure and stormwater management techniques.

  • Stormwater Fee Credit - Property owners will receive a credit on their stormwater fee. Many municipalities are implementing stormwater fees to help pay for the rising costs of stormwater management infrastructure. Stormwater fee credits are calculated based on the amount of area targeted or based on how effective the green infrastructure is in reducing stormwater runoff.

  • Tax Credit/Abatement - An amount deducted from taxes (credit) or a reduction of taxes (abatement) for the construction of a green roof. The amount is often calculated as a percentage of the cost of construction, or as a dollar amount per square foot of green roof constructed up to a certain limit.

  • Other - There are other policies and programs to inspire the construction and installation of green infrastructure, such as: the expedition of project permits if green roofs are a part of the project plan; and using green roofs to achieve points for sustainable development plans.

To support policy development efforts, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities has established a number of initiatives and resources, such as: 

  • A one day Symposium/Seminar to showcase local projects, provide training and discuss policy options with local and regional experts. https://greenroofs.org/symposia

  • A Green Roof Professional (GRP) training and accreditation program that can provide you with professionals that understand best practices in the design, installation and maintenance of green roof systems. http://greenroofs.org/find-a-grp

  • Our sister organization, the Green Infrastructure Foundation (GIF) (www.greeninfrastructurefoundation.org) has a two day Green Infrastructure Design and Valuation program. This program involves green infrastructure training and monetary valuation techniques and the ability to redesign an area of your community.

  • The GIF also has developed the Living Architecture Performance Tool which has 110 credits and an independent review system that can help policy makers to establish incentive and regulatory programs. To download a free copy visit www.greeninfrastructurefoundation.org