2024 Track 1 Day 1: Cowan


Smart Blue Roof Systems: An Innovative Green Infrastructure Approach to Climate Change Adaptation


Conventional flat roofs on industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings are designed to quickly remove rainwater from their surfaces. The passive control strategy of these conventional roof assemblies provides no opportunity for rainwater capture and contributes to downstream erosion and the potential for flooding.

Credit Valley Conservation’s Smart Blue Roof flips the role of the conventional flat roof on its head and uses an active stormwater control strategy to safely store rainwater on flat-roofed buildings.

By using control logic and active stormwater control structures, the Smart Blue Roof allows Credit Valley Conservation to safely pond approximately 40,000 L of rainwater on top of its head office. This rainwater capture plays a significant role in minimizing stormwater runoff generated on-site and reduces head office’s reliance on city-supplied water.

The Smart Blue Roof can also provide an evaporative cooling benefit that cools the building interior in the summer months. This is the first active blue roof system in Canada to be compliant with the Canadian Standards Association’s new Rainwater Harvesting Standard (CSA B805-18).

This emerging technology has the potential to realize significant water conservation, stormwater management, and utility savings benefits. Active stormwater controls can offer effective solutions for climate adaptation.


James Cowan

James Cowan, Credit Valley Conservation (CVC)

James is a graduate of the University of Guelph’s Environmental Engineering program, and his current role is to support green infrastructure and low-impact development projects at CVC.