Success Stories

Green Roof Substrate

LiveRoof® Quebec is the Quebec-based company manufacturer of the patented LiveRoof® pre-vegetated system for green roof modules. Green roofs provide several environmental benefits: they retain rainwater, reflect solar radiation and dampen heat fluxes. The growth substrate plays a crucial role in this technology. Its components provide vital nutrients and retain the water necessary for plant life. This substrate must also comply with the FLL standard, a German standard recognized by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ) and the National Building Code – Canada (CNB). This standard sets specific rules for material weight, water retention, and the proportion of organic and mineral matter. In 2010, these constraints led LiveRoof® to procure their substrate in the United States. The observation was then obvious to Martin Marion, CEO of LiveRoof® Québec: he must develop a new substrate that complies with the standards but also the company’s sustainable development values! The company then faced a new challenge, that of developing a specialized substrate for green roofs entirely composed of recycled and locally produced materials. 


The applied research collaboration between LiveRoof® Québec, Biopterre and few other stakeholders led to the creation of the first substrate for green roofs composed of 100% recycled materials. The research on the mineral (inert) portion of the substrate was carried out by the Centre de transfert technologique en écologie industrielle (CTTÉI).  Biopterre was more specifically involved in the development of the organic portion of the substrate. This portion is of particular importance in regard to the agronomic quality, stability and durability of the product.  This collaborative work made it possible to develop a substrate recipe complying with the German FLL standard, internationally recognized in the field of green roofs.



The development of this substrate allowed LiveRoof® Québec to significantly reduce its production costs. These savings are largely related to source material proximity and the transportation fees related to these materials. 


Currently, the newly developed substrate leads to the annual diversion of 2000 metric tons of residual material from landfills. The materials are sourced from the Centre hospitalier de Lanaudière. This innovative solution reduces the costs related to residual material management for this facility and thus improves its environmental performance. The diversion of these materials also results in a greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction equivalent to 34 tonnes annually. Added to this is the reduction of GHGs associated with the transportation of the original materials, since much of it came from the United States.


  • This project created an industrial symbiosis and new business opportunities, particularly between a private company and the public sector.
  • The initiative served as a catalyst for the development of a new project at the Centre hospitalier de Lanaudière to divert even more material from landfills.
  • Research is ongoing to develop other products related to this technology.

“This project has created an industrial symbiosis and new business opportunities” – Martin Marion, CEO, LiveRoof ® Québec –

Contact: Karine Bouchard, agr., M. Env.


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