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Frequently Asked Questions

BC Energy Step Code

What is the BC Energy Step Code?

The BC Energy Step Code is a provincial regulation that local governments can voluntarily adopt to require higher levels of energy efficiency in new home construction beyond that required by the BC Building Code. The BC Energy Step Code was introduced as a step-by-step building efficiency strategy that will help meet the Provincial Government’s target of all new homes being net-zero energy ready by 2032.

For Part 9 homes and buildings, the BC Energy Step code sets five performance levels or “steps” with the higher steps being more energy efficient, step five being that the home is net-zero energy ready, meaning it produces as much energy as it consumes. Local governments can choose to require or incentivize a given step for new home construction in their community. Builders and developers have an opportunity to set themselves apart by building to higher steps than required.

While the BC Energy Step Code is currently adopted by municipalities on a voluntary basis, In future years the Province of BC may require that certain steps must be met in order to meet Provincial targets.

By adopting the BC Energy Step code, local governments and their communities will be able to take advantage of the multiple benefits associated with more energy efficient new homes, including:

  • Greenhouse Gas Reductions – High-efficiency homes, require less energy to heat, resulting in reduced carbon emissions, even if homes heat with fossil fuels. Homes heated with a heat pump will have the lowest carbon emissions.
  • Better Affordability – Reduced energy consumption results in lower energy costs.
  • Increased Comfort – The increased insulation and airtightness mean that better equipped to maintain more even temperatures throughout the home.
  • Better Health – Energy efficient homes do a better job of filtering and refreshing the indoor air, infiltration of unwanted mould and moisture.
  • Improved Durability – Your home is less likely to have moisture and condensation issues that can lead to the deterioration of you building envelope.

For more information on the BC Energy Step Code, visit energystepcode.ca

 

How does the BC Energy Step Code compare to other green building labeling and certification programs: PassiveHouse, BUILTGREEN®, ENERGY STAR®, R2000, LEED

Throughout British Columbia there are various green building labeling and certification programs available. In the past, many municipalities had adopted a particular building certification as a mandatory requirement for builders to obtain a building permit, such as:
BUILTGREEN®
 ENERGYSTAR®
R2000
LEED
PassiveHouse

The building and administrative requirements for each green building program vary and not all builders have knowledge about every certification program. This can become complicated and costly to builders when bordering municipalities adopt different green building certification programs. The BC Energy Step Code is a uniform building energy performance standard which allows builders to build in multiple jurisdictions without worrying about different labeling or certification standards.

The BC Energy Step Code is not designed to replace green building program certifications, but rather to provide a consistent energy metric baseline for performance modelling across all municipalities.

The BC Energy Step Code also reduces the need for builders to complete added administrative requirements that are mandatory for many programs listed above. While there is still a cost to work with an energy advisor to obtain an EnerGuide evaluation, the BC Energy Step Code will reduce the administrative workload that many builders need to meet in order to achieve green building certifications.

For more information about the BC Energy Step Code visit: https://energystepcode.ca.