BC Energy Step Code

What is the BC Energy Step Code?

The BC Energy Step Code is a provincial regulation that local governments may use, if they wish, to incentivize or require a level of energy efficiency in new construction that goes above and beyond the requirements of the BC Building Code. It consists of a series of steps, representing increasing levels of energy-efficiency performance. By gradually adopting one or more steps of the standard, local governments can increase building performance requirements in their communities. The Province of British Columbia has set a goal that all new buildings must reach a net-zero energy ready level of efficiency by 2032; the BC Energy Step Code serves as the policy pathway to reach that goal.

Net-zero energy buildings produce as much clean energy as they consume. They are up to 80 percent more energy efficient than a typical new building and use on-site (or near-site) renewable energy systems to produce the remaining energy they need.

A net-zero energy ready building is one that has been designed and built to a level of performance such that it could, with the addition of solar panels or other renewable energy technologies, achieve net-zero energy performance.

BC Energy Step Code in Pemberton

In recognition of the climate crisis and the need to reduce our carbon footprint, the Village added reference to the BC Energy Step Code to Building Bylaw No. 867, 2019, adopted in July of 2019.

The Building Bylaw requires that new Part 9 residential buildings meet Step 3 as of January 1, 2020, and Step 4 as of January 1, 2021. Most single-family homes, duplexes and small multi-family homes fall into the category of Part 9 buildings. 

Step 3 is considered a lower step. To achieve this step, builders may rely on conventional building designs with careful air-sealing practices incorporating some key elements in the design, building envelope and mechanical equipment and systems.

Step 4 is considered a higher step. To achieve this step, builders will need to adopt a more integrated approach to building design employing various techniques and strategies to meet the performance requirements.  

Homes built to the new BC Energy Step Code standard will use less energy, cost less to operate and maintain, and be more comfortable than homes built to BC Building Code standards.

Building permits and compliance reports

As of January 1, 2020, building permit applications for Part 9 residential buildings must include:

  1. a completed Pre-Construction BC Energy Compliance Report; and
  2. an energy model provided by a licensed Energy Advisor or qualified energy modeler (example, HOT2000 detailed report).

The Village strongly recommends that builders have a mid-construction blower test completed by an Energy Advisor and submit a completed Mid-Construction BC Standard Verification Report to ensure that the build is on track to meet the requirements of the mandated step.

Before occupancy, a completed As-Built BC Energy Compliance Report demonstrating compliance with the mandated step of the BC Energy Step Code must be provided.

Energy Efficient Building Incentives

CleanBC Better Homes New Construction program provides rebates up to $15,000 for the construction of new, high-performance, electric homes. Please see the useful links below for ways to apply. Rebates are also offered for retrofitting and installation of heat pumps into existing homes.

Useful links

BC Energy Step Code Website

BC Energy Step Code Design Guide

BC Energy Step Code Builders’ Guide

CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program

Community Energy Association

Canadian Home Builders Association of BC

Energy Advisors

Heat Pump Rebates *Introduced by CleanBC September 2021