November 22, 2018

Campbell River Gets a Green Roof

City of Campbell River City Hall Green Roof (courtesy of City of Campbell River)
City of Campbell River City Hall Green Roof (courtesy of City of Campbell River)

Campbell River City staff arranged for the old roof on City Hall to be replaced with a longer-lasting, cost effective roof with a vegetation layer.

Project Summary

In 2008 the City of Campbell River developed the Green City Strategy. To realize this strategy, in 2009 a green roof was installed on top of City Hall when the old roof was due for replacement. The City was the first local government in BC to install a green roof on an existing civic building. The project was the winner in the ‘Buildings’ category of the 2010 FCM Sustainable Community Awards.

Energy Savings/GHG reductions

Insulation from the vegetation layer reduced heating and cooling needs by up to 25 per cent, resulting in a reduction of 2 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

Business case

Installation of the roof cost a total of $489,039.83, with capital costs covered entirely by a grant received from the Community Works Fund (Federal Gas Tax Fund). The green roof has both long and short term economic advantages. Energy savings are estimated at $106,000 over the life of the roof and total life-cycle cost savings are estimated at $196,000. Additionally, the lifespan of the underlying conventional roof is projected to double from 25 to 50 years, as the roofing membrane is protected from UV radiation, temperature variations, and physical damage. Operating costs are minimal, at $500 per year.


The project resulted in numerous benefits. The vegetation layer  annually filters 500 kg of fine airborne particulate matter, increases storm water runoff retention, and reduces urban heat island effect. The City also plans to use the green roof as an educational tool (e.g. compost and vegetable gardening demonstrations).

Lessons learned

Two important lessons were learned other local governments looking into installing green roofs may wish to consider.

Plan ahead to capture baseline data

Installing a meter on an electric furnace prior to putting in the green roof provides baseline data on the building’s heat demands and costs. With this baseline data staff may then track the exact energy savings in HVAC costs as a result of the Green Roof. Similarly, installing a water meter as part of a green roof project enables the tracking of storm water runoff retention.

Develop education and communications package

Developing a comprehensive education and communications package about the green roof retrofit prior to project inception can support a positive public perception of the benefits and financial costs of the project. The earlier this information is prepared and communicated to the public, the more opportunities for community engagement.

Local government contact

Amber Zirnhelt 
Sustainability Manager, City of Campbell River
T: 250-286-5742

Success Story Snapshot

Reduced heating and cooling needs by up to 25% per year which equals a 2 tonne reduction of CO2 emissions per year.
Business Case
Energy savings over the life of the roof estimated at $106,000 and life-cycle cost savings estimated at $196,000.
Lifespan of the underlying conventional roof doubled from 25 to 50 years.
Total project cost
$489,039.83 (Grant from Gas Tax Fund)