The Province enacted the BC Step Code for energy efficiency into force on April 11, 2017 as a component of the Climate Action Plan. The BC Step Code is a voluntary road-map with five progressive energy conservation targets (5 steps) that support market transformation from the minimum requirements in the BC Building Code to net zero energy ready buildings. The BC Step Code establishes a set of incremental energy efficiency steps for new buildings that aims to communicate the future intent of the Building Code and improve consistency in building requirements across B.C. to transition to net zero energy ready buildings by 2032. It is a voluntary tool local governments across British Columbia can use to encourage—or require—the construction of more energy-efficient buildings in their communities, and do so in a consistent, predictable way.
A Step In the Right Direction for BC Energy Code and Carbon Reduction
The BC Energy Step Code takes a smart, performance-based approach rather than the traditional prescriptive approach. This means the BC Step Code does not specify how to construct a building, but sets an energy-efficiency target that must be met and lets the designer/builder decide how to meet it. This means that every home and building will be required to be energy modeled prior to construction and then tested for airtightness during construction as this is the only proven way to ensure performance.
Baby Steps for 16-Year BC Step Code Time Range to Net Nero
Why delay 16-years for a 2032 objective when Zero Energy Ready (“ZER”). Homes are built in BC now? The problem is not materials or ability, Europe and California are building the ZER homes now. Cost is not the problem as many assume, the increase is 2-5% according to Pembina study, and is fully offset by lower energy bills for a net improvement in affordablility. The delay seems to be from a slow to change Construction Industry that is slow to embrace innovation. Why would anyone not want a more affordable, more comfortable, more healthy, and low carbon building? Change may involve risk, but avoiding change is far riskier.
Find out more from the BC Construction Codes .