← Back





GRIT Lab provides a platform for multi-disciplinary research and education by linking the fields of Landscape Architecture, Biology, Hydrology and Building Science. Its wide range of partnerships with industry, academic institutions and government agencies have far reaching implications for education and knowledge transfer, innovation and commercialization, as well as policy and guidelines. [1]

The Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory, or GRIT Lab, is located at the University of Toronto, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. A platform for multidisciplinary collaboration, GRIT Lab’s goal is to investigate the environmental performance associated with ‘green’ & ‘clean’ technologies such as green roofs, green walls and photovoltaic arrays. [2]

Green roofs have now become a standard green building technology, promoted or required in many municipal regions for stormwater management, thermal cooling, and ecological habitat for pollinator species, such as bees. They are a favourite among designers, policy makers and citizens not only because of this ecological multi-tasking, but also because they transform a vast and underused layer of the city the roof scape into a thing of beauty. At the University of Toronto’s Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory (GRIT Lab), our mission is to study the relation between material choices and environmental performance.  

The University of Toronto Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design established the GRIT Lab in 2010 as an interdisciplinary research facility to compare and validate industry practices and test new material innovations. [3]

Liat Margolis, director of the University of Toronto’s GRIT Lab (Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory) at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, suggests that, while you may not have heard of her group, in coming years GRIT’s unique perspective may come in handy, as freak weather events become less freaky. (…) “we’ve been so busy in building our credibility in terms of getting the data out – and it took us a while to get to this point – but now, we have a dozen publications that we can point to in high-ranking scientific journals [so] we can now give you some serious information." [4]


[1]       “Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory (GRIT Lab).” Daniels. Accessed May 19, 2021. https://www.daniels.utoronto.ca/work/research/green-roof-innovation-testing-laboratory-grit-lab.

[2]        “Gritlab.” GRIT Lab. Accessed May 19, 2021. https://grit.daniels.utoronto.ca/.

[3]         Margolis, Liat. “Shades of Green.” Canadian Architect, April 10, 2019. https://www.canadianarchitect.com/shades-green-roofs-grit/.

[4]          Leblanc, Dave. “University of Toronto Lab Tries to Perfect the Green Roof.” The Globe and Mail, June 8, 2017. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/toronto/university-of-toronto-lab-tries-to-perfect-the-greenroof/article35230140/.

Additional information

Bsnarchitects.com. “GRIT Lab.” Baird Sampson Neuert Architects. Accessed May 25, 2021. https://www.bsnarchitects.com/gritlab.

Catherine Howell Research Assistant, Jennifer Drake Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, and Liat Margolis Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture. “Bees in the City: Designing Green Roofs for Pollinators.” The Conversation, April 20, 2021. https://theconversation.com/bees-in-the-city-designing-green-roofs-for-pollinators-84688.

City of Toronto, and Livegreen Toronto. “Toronto Green Roof Construction Standards.” Toronto.ca. City of Toronto, n.d. https://www.toronto.ca.

El Helow, Dalia, Jennifer Drake, and Liat Margolis. “Testing the Potential Synergy of Green Roof-Integrated Photovoltaics at the University of Toronto Green Roof Innovation Testing (GRIT) Laboratory.” 32nd RCI Convention and TradeShow. Research Gate, March 2017. https://www.researchgate.net.

“Green Roof Innovation Testing (GRIT) Laboratory.” ASLA 2013 Professional Awards | Green Roof Innovation Testing (GRIT) Laboratory. Accessed May 25, 2021. https://www.asla.org/2013awards/394.html.

“GRIT Lab.” Facebook. Accessed May 25, 2021. https://www.facebook.com/gritlab/.

Hall, Joseph. “The Height of Cool: Battling the Heat from U of T’s Experimental Green Roof.” thestar.com, June 30, 2018. https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2018/06/30/the-height-of-cool-battling-the-heat-from-u-of-ts-experimental-green-roof.html.

“Integrating Green Roof and Photovoltaic Systems: Ginkgo Sustainability: Green Roofs & Living Walls.” Ginkgo Sustainability | Green Roofs & Living Walls, May 14, 2019. https://www.ginkgosustainability.com/2019/05/integrating-green-roof-and-photovoltaic-systems/.

“Landscape Architecture.” Landscape Architecture | Weitzman School, September 26, 2016. https://www.design.upenn.edu/landscape-architecture/events/liat-margolis.

“Liat Margolis.” Dezign Ark, October 19, 2018. https://dezignark.com/blog/liat-margolis/.

“Meet the Woman Behind Toronto’s Green Roof Explosion: Q&A w/ Prof. Liat Margolis.” Shedoesthecity, May 1, 2017. https://www.shedoesthecity.com/the-woman-behind-torontos-green-roof-explosion-qa-w-prof-liat-margolis/.

Melnyck, Rebecca. “Research Challenges Current Green Roof Standards.” REMINET, May 31, 2017. https://www.reminetwork.com/articles/research-challenges-current-green-roof-standards/.

“Nature Lab – Green Roof Innovation Talk by Scott MacIvor.” The Nature Lab at Rhode Island School of Design. Accessed May 25, 2021. https://naturelab.risd.edu/events/green-roof-innovation-talk-by-scott-macivor/.

“Next Level Stormwater Management Blog.” Next Level Stormwater Management. Accessed May 25, 2021. https://www.nlsm.ca/how-green-roofs-can-protect-city-streets-from-flooding/.

“Research Partners.” Bioroof Systems Inc. Accessed May 25, 2021. https://www.bioroof.com/research-partners.

“University of Toronto’s GRIT Lab Studies Green Roofs.” SmartBrief, June 9, 2017. https://www.smartbrief.com/s/2017/06/university-torontos-grit-lab-studies-green-roofs.

Velazquez, Aramis. “University of Toronto Training and Research Program to Focus on Green Roofs and Living Infrastructure.” Greenroofs.com, January 16, 2021. https://www.greenroofs.com/2021/01/16/university-of-toronto-training-and-research-program-to-focus-on-green-roofs-and-living-infrastructure/.

Project Title: Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory (GRIT)
Artists:  John H. Daniels faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design
Place: Toronto, ON

scroll to top