[getsmart-l] Green Roof by-law -Sour grapes? Or real limitation? (extract)

John O'Gorman jcogorman at sympatico.ca
Tue Jun 16 09:18:04 EDT 2009

Developers blue over green roofs 
New Toronto bylaw presents 'one more demand to face at a time when they are already being squeezed by recessionary pressures'

TERRENCE BELFORD From Tuesday's Globe and Mail, Tuesday, Jun. 16, 2009 03:04AM EDT 

When Toronto's city council passed a bylaw May 27 mandating green roofs on new commercial, industrial, institutional and high-rise residential construction, its proponents hailed it as a major step toward preserving the environment.

The city would be the first in North America to make roofs planted with greenery a must on almost everything except the smallest structures.

The development industry, however, warns that the laws of unanticipated consequences may start kicking in and that a city-ordered focus on green roofs may actually slow the steady march toward energy conservation and environmental preservation.

"What the bylaw does is limit our options for future buildings," says Stephen Upton, vice-president for development at Tridel Corp., one of the city's major high-rise condominium developers. "Council has decided on this path without investigating any other options or even creating pilot projects to work out details and measure results."

The mandate for green roofs may impede acceptance of other technologies, says Keith Major, senior vice-president for property management at Bentall LP, which manages office towers such as 200 King St. West. As he explains, budgets for new developments may include room for only eight items directed toward energy conservation and environmental protection.

"Now that green roofs are mandated, that will bring the number of line items we can include down to seven," he says. "Decisions have to be made on cost-benefits analysis - getting the biggest bang for the buck. We may not be able to go with another technology which would deliver greater benefits because we must build green roofs."
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