What is the Step Code? There are now two different Step Codes as part of the BC Building Code; the Energy Step Code and the new Zero Carbon Step Code. While related, they are separate compliance paths that local governments may use to require a high level of energy efficiency and/or reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new construction.
Why is this important? Currently, new residential construction must meet Energy Step 3 (Commercial buildings are at Energy Step 2) and as of November 2023, new house construction (and similar residential) will need to be designed and constructed to meet the Zero Carbon levels as well. It is increasingly important to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new buildings in order to meet the targets outlined in the District's Climate Leadership Plan.
What does this mean? For the last few years, residential construction has required the involvement of an energy advisor to demonstrate compliance with the Energy Step Code. This practice will continue, and for permit applications made on or after November 1, 2023, your advisor will also be providing details on total GHG emissions complying with Emissions Level 4, or Zero Carbon, in the Zero Carbon Step Code (similar to the City of Victoria and the District of Saanich). Typically, this will mean electrifying the building without using fossil fuels like natural gas. An example would be using an electric heat pump for heating and cooling, and an electric domestic hot water system. More information is available from the Related Links or check with your energy advisor.