Today I met with James at The One Cafe, just east of Jones, on the north side of Danforth with Chris Caldwell (, who is running in the Toronto City Council election this fall for Toronto-Danforth, Ward 29.

It was a hot hazy and humid Toronto summer day and we held onto our expectations as we climbed onto the asphalt roof above his cafe/ residence. Almost immediately I went off into ‘designer sustainability guru mode’ talking about extensive, intensive, roofing and using solar panels as shading devices.

Then I started rhyming off incentive programs that he had never heard about.

The most important one is the OPA Microfit Contract. If you own a building in Ontario you should apply for the 30-year contract from the Ontario government. Then they can pay you 80.2 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity produced by your solar panels, while you pay under 10. This is a win-win because we achieve distributed power generation capacity in the province. The locations are closer than your local power station, reducing transmission loses and building a more resilient electrical grid.

To get an OPA MicroFit Contract for your residential home or business get Sunrise Solar to walk you through the process and you can start by referencing these documents:
Contact them if you have questions:

The next important is the City of Toronto Eco Roof Incentive Program. If you attended the June TF4GBD then you would have learned that Green Roofs divert rainwater from our storm sewers, and saves energy:

Lastly, (but one that examination before you alter anything) is the Ontario Home Energy Savings program (yes, this is the provincial equivalent to the program that the Feds pulled the plug on):

We started envisioning a deck area, urban agriculture for his restaurant in intensive roofing planters, and an extensive roof that looked like a natural meadow. I could see how James was starting to see the future that wanted to emerge for his roof.

We came back down to ground level inspired to help other business owners see the potential in these netherworlds lurking overhead. We are seeking to create a buyer’s cooperative movement on the Danforth for retrofit projects, so contact me or Chris if you are interested in becoming involved.