Green Roof Gurus Panel

0:25 Introduction by Ted Kesik
5:40 Joe D’Abramo presentation
29:21 Scott Torrance presentation
44:58 Rick Buist presentation
1:02:14 Q & A

On March 6, 2014, the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design invited a panel of green roof experts that represent development, design, construction and regulatory stakeholders to discuss how to get green roofs right. This event was part of the Building, Ecology, Science and Technology (B.E.S.T.) lecture series.

What’s better, a green roof or a cool roof? Is rainwater harvesting more important than mitigating urban heat island effect? How effective are green roofs at managing stormwater? What is a responsible alternative to green roofs where they are not feasible? How important are irrigation, soils and plant selection for a healthy green roof? Are you confused by the conflicting Toronto Green Roof Bylaw and LEED requirements?

Toronto is the first city in North America to have a bylaw to require and govern the construction of green roofs on new development as of May, 2009. Since its inception, a number of issues and questions have emerged that present challenges and opportunities to all green roof stakeholders. Listen to an expert panel present their perspective on the Toronto Green Roof Bylaw and their views on how it can be improved to deliver all of the benefits that green roof technology promises.

Joe D’Abramo has practiced as a city planner with the City of Toronto for 34 years, where, as Acting Director of Zoning and Environmental Planning, he was involved in both development approval and policy formulation. His work has focused on researching and developing policies related to environmental impacts of urban development practices involving water quality, air quality, noise and contaminated soil issues. He is responsible for preparing Toronto‘s new city wide Zoning Bylaw including work on city-wide amendments governing drive throughs, renewable energy devices and front yard parking. His environmental planning work includes preparation of the Toronto Green Standard, the Green Roof Bylaw and the Bird Friendly Design Guidelines.

Scott Torrance is the principal of Scott Torrance Landscape Architect Inc., a collaborative studio which fosters design excellence, promotes biodiversity and celebrates natural processes in all of its projects. As a certified Green Roof Professional, Scott has designed many green roofs throughout the GTA, including Native Child and Family Services, ESRI Canada and the Victoria Park Subway Station and Bus Terminal. Scott is the lead author for the City of Toronto Guidelines for Biodiverse Green Roofs, and his firm is currently writing the Best Practices Manual for Green Walls for the City of Toronto. He sits on the City of Toronto Green Roof Bylaw Technical Advisory Committee.

Rick Buist is a principal and president of Bioroof Systems Inc. He is an award-winning designer and horticulturist. For over 10 years, Rick has been involved in the design and/or installation of more than 200 green roof projects throughout North America. These include the award-winning Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, the LEED platinum Manitoba Hydro Building as well as the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, the LEED platinum David Suzuki Public School in Windsor and Covenant House in Toronto. He is a pioneer in the establishment of urban meadows on rooftops and, more recently, he was instrumental in developing the highest elevation green roof in Canada. A proponent of functional design in green roofing, Rick has worked tirelessly to ensure green roofs meet stringent quality protocols. He believes that without proper execution, the vision is lost.

The B.E.S.T. lecture series is proudly sponsored by Tremco Roofing and Building Maintenance.

For more information about the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto, visit us at


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