get a rebate for a green roof to reduce polluted water in our rivers?


1. Learn about this resource. 

Property owners can receive a rebate for installing a green roof at a residential building, commercial building, or community space in target areas in DC (blue on this map). Green roofs support plant growth and retain rainwater, reducing pollution from runoff. We—the DC Government—offer a rebate of $15 per square foot (up to the cost of your green roof). For example, if you install a 100 square foot green roof, you can get a $1,500 rebate.


For small property owners (buildings of 2,500 square feet or less), we also offer a rebate of up to $250 to help with the cost of having a structural engineer assess your property, which is required to make sure the installation is safe.


This program is called RiverSmart Rooftops and is offered by the Department of Energy & Environment, in partnership with Designgreen, a local small business.

2. Check if you are eligible.

You are eligible if all of these statements are true:

  • You own a residential building, commercial building, house of worship, or community space in DC.

  • Your property is in DC’s municipal storm sewer system. Search your address on this map, and if it’s on a block in blue, your property is eligible for the program.

  • Your property does not already have a green roof installed.

  • If your building needs green infrastructure, like a green roof, to meet local stormwater management and green area ratio requirements, you plan to install green roofing outside of your regulatory requirements. If you’re not sure, apply anyway, and we’ll talk you through the requirements.


Properties of all sizes are eligible for this rebate. You don’t need to live in DC to apply, as long as the property you’re applying for is in DC.

3. Apply.

  1. Fill out the short RiverSmart Rooftop interest form with a few details about yourself and your property. Once you submit, you’ll receive an automated email confirming that your interest form has been received.
  2. Within one business day, our partner Designgreen will reach out to you to let you know if you might be eligible. Designgreen may ask you to answer a few more questions to confirm your eligibility.
  3. Designgreen will walk you through the application process and documents required at each step. This process usually takes 3-6 months and will include:
    • Taking and submitting photos of the roof’s current condition.
    • Having a structural engineer assess the roof to make sure it can hold the weight of the installation.
    • Getting an estimate of the cost to install a green roof.
    • Selecting a contractor and designer to do the work.
    • Having the green roof designed to meet industry standards.
    • Identifying funds to cover the cost of installation outside of the DOEE rebate allowance.
    • Submitting the plan drawings, permits from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), a warranty from your contractor, and an agreement with your contractor to maintain the green roof for two years.
  4. Once you’ve completed all the steps above, sign a contract with Designgreen agreeing to continue with the green roof installation and receive the rebate.
You can apply at any time. If you are not eligible, Designgreen will let you know by email. You may reapply if your situation changes.

4. Gather more information.

What happens after I apply?

  1. Designgreen will send you a check for 10% of your rebate amount once you sign the contract.
  2. You’ll proceed with your green roof installation.
  3. You’ll submit photos of the green roof and a receipt from your contractor to Designgreen to verify that the installation is complete.
  4. Designgreen will give you the remaining 90% of your rebate amount after confirming that the installation is completed and meets all of the requirements.
  5. You observe, water, and weed your green roof, following our maintenance checklist and detailed booklet. Your green roof needs regular attention to make sure it’s healthy and working properly.
If you don’t complete your green roof installation, you’ll need to return the initial 10% payment to Designgreen. If you need more time to complete the installation than originally planned, Designgreen can provide you with an extension.

Are there any additional requirements I should know about?

Applications for recently completed or existing green roofs will not be accepted. You must apply for the rebate before you have received a permit for the green roof.

Who should I contact if I have questions?

First, take a look at the frequently asked questions at the bottom of the page. If you still have questions, please reach out to Designgreen at (202) 849-0388, Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Or, you can email Rebecca Stack, using the subject line “Green Roof Question.”

I still need help making my home more environmentally friendly. What should I do?

You can find information about other resources that help make your home more environmentally friendly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a green roof? Green roofs work by installing a growing media and plants on your roof that help capture and manage stormwater. This helps reduce stormwater runoff and pollution in DC waterways. They can also improve the air quality around your building and increase your building’s energy efficiency. Do green roofs require maintenance? Like many types of green infrastructure, green roofs require regular maintenance to make sure that they are healthy and working properly. Learn how to maintain your green roof. I want to install a green roof, but the required structural assessment is expensive. What can I do? If your building is 2,500 square feet or less, we also offer a rebate of up to $250 to help with the cost of having a structural engineer assess your property. I want to install a green roof, but my roof is not strong enough to support the weight. What can I do? If you are installing a green roof on an existing roof, your structural engineer may say that your roof is not strong enough to support the weight of a green roof. Unfortunately, the rebate does not cover the costs of reinforcing an existing roof with additional structural support. Are there any other financial benefits for installing a green roof? Yes! When you apply for this program, we’ll help you apply for a small discount on your DC Water bill, called RiverSmart Rewards. This discount is for property owners who prevent runoff on their property with green infrastructure, like green roofs. Can I get help with installing and paying for other types of green infrastructure? Yes! Our RiverSmart Homes program offers technical and financial assistance for green infrastructure installs, such as rain barrels, rain gardens, permeable pavement, and more. You may be eligible if you own a single-family home (or a building with four or fewer units). For property owners of any type of residential building, commercial building, house of worship, or community space, we—DC Government—also offer rebates for permeable surfaces, rain gardens, rain barrels, and tree plantings. The eligibility criteria, application process, and amount of rebate vary depending on the type of green infrastructure, and you may need to apply before installation. Unlike RiverSmart Homes, our rebate programs do not have a waiting period. Can I try to reapply for the program if I am not approved? Yes. You can reapply to RiverSmart Rooftops if you believe changes to your situation might make you eligible. If you have the tracking number for your previous application, please provide that number when you reapply. How does green infrastructure help the city of DC? Green infrastructure helps reduce stormwater runoff, which helps us protect the Anacostia River, Potomac River, and Rock Creek from harmful pollution.

Do all eligible applicants receive a rebate?

Rebates are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

This resource is provided by:

Keywords: install a green roof, prevent runoff, homeowners, renters, business owners, community-based organizations, religious institutions, green home, manage rainwater, sustainability, reduce pollution, polluted water, refund, discount, sustainability


This page was last updated May 2021.

Department of Energy and Environment