The Province of British Columbia has committed to taking incremental steps to increase energy-efficiency requirements in the BC Building Code to make buildings net-zero energy ready by 2032. The BC Energy Step Code--a part of the BC Building Code--supports that effort.
How does it work? The BC Energy Step Code takes a new, performance-based approach rather than the traditional prescriptive approach. The BC Energy Step Code does not specify how to construct a building, but identifies an energy-efficiency target that must be met and lets the designer/builder decide how to meet it.
To comply with the BC Energy Step Code, builders must use energy modelling software and on-site testing to demonstrate that both their design and the constructed building meet the requirements of the BC Energy Step Code. The new standard empowers builders to pursue innovative, creative, cost-effective solutions, and allows them to incorporate leading-edge technologies as they come available.
The BC Energy Step Code also supports consumer choice, by allowing designers and builders to use natural gas, electricity, or other energy sources for their project without imposing a penalty on this decision. This fuel-neutral approach provides builders with the flexibility to make energy-efficient buildings using all available technologies.
Is it required? The BC Energy Step Code is currently a voluntary standard builders across B.C. can use. In addition, local governments can choose to require or encourage builders to meet one or more steps of the BC Energy Step Code as an alternative to the BC Building Code’s prescriptive requirements.
When does it take effect? The BC Energy Step Code came into force in April 2017 so builders have the option of building to the requirements in the Energy Step Code at any time. Local governments can set bylaw requirements for builders to meet one or more steps effective December 15, 2017 (when local governments’ authority to set technical building requirements by bylaw will change under the Building Act).
How does this affect a new build?
The new energy efficiency requirements will affect some of the things in a new build in order to comply. Such items include:
- Energy modeling
- Pre-drywall air tightness blower test
- Thicker walls
- Better insulation performance (Structural Insulated Panels, Hot Roofs etc...)
- High performance windows & doors (meeting required U-Values in the City of Vancouver & NAFS)
- High performance HRV systems (HVAC, Heating, & Venting)
- Energy efficient LED light fixtures
- Energy efficient appliances
- Post construction air tightness blower test
All of these items add to the cost of a new build and should be taken into consideration in your overall budget. There may also be increased lead times depending on the products/materials specified and where they're manufactured.
For more information visit: www.energystepcode.ca or contact us today!