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The Podium Roof Garden at Toronto City Hall Case Study

Friday, February 10, 2012

By Jorg Breuning 

Photo - By Jorg Breuning

In an earlier posting we highlighted the Podium Roof Garden and how it has fallen victim to a psychology of unobtainable and opportunistic design expectations and the consequences have been expensive.  After a deeper analysis of the project we have compiled a case study covering this highly visible example of a green roof designed and constructed in a mistaken fashion. The aim of any green roof, or any other kind of BMP, is to create a sustainable, low-maintenance environment in the most cost-effective way possible.

Two key factors led to the writing of this study: an independent inspection of the site on November 2011 and the subsequent investigation into the project, which was highlighted by the discovery of the exceptionally high cost per square foot).  In this case study Green Roof Technology (GRT) will report that the landscape architect’s design for the green roof led to higher installation costs and higher future maintenance costs, which were not included in the total cost of the green roof.  By not employing the most economical approach to green roof design and construction, the City of Toronto missed an opportunity to either reduce costs by more than 50% or install another green roof of similar type and even greater area.

Toronto must remain a progressive city, rewarding its citizens with a safe, healthy, and beautiful place to live. The green roof program is an essential aspect of Toronto’s long-term goals. What is required of the city, and of any other city in North America, is to establish a clear consumer-oriented guideline for the best-practice in green roof construction. An industry wide effort must be made to reduce the market price of designing and installing green roofs. The result will benefit the multitude over the few in the decades to come.

Click here for the full version of this case study.


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