What is the Step Code? The BC Energy Step Code is a compliance path that local governments may use to require a level of energy efficiency for new construction. The province will be updating the BC Building Code later this year to require all new homes in BC to meet the performance standards of Step 3 for a new home.
Why is this important? Currently, new construction must meet either Step 2 or 3 (based on the building type and occupancy). It is increasingly important to consider future steps and the related greenhouse gas emissions for new buildings to meet the targets outlined in the District's Climate Leadership Plan. Engaging with local stakeholders will provide understanding of the opportunities and challenges associated with compliance with the upper steps, and provide important feedback from industry members.
Where can I find more info?
- Below under "I want to learn more about..." for details of specific step code requirements
- BetterHomesBC.ca (new and existing houses)
- BetterBuildingsBC.ca (commercial projects)
- Community Energy Association - Step Code Introduction
- BC Energy Step Code
- Built Green
- National Resources Canada - Energy Efficiency
- BC Hydro
- Fortis BC
- BC Housing Construction Guides
The BC Energy Step Code consists of a series of steps, representing increasing levels of energy-efficiency performance. For residential construction, the steps are summarized as:
Step 1 - Base Building Code
Step 2 - 10% Better than Building Code
Step 3 - 20% Better than Building Code
Step 4 - 40% Better than Building Code
Step 5 - 80% Better than Building Code (or Net-Zero Energy Ready)
Minimum Step Code step required for new construction building permit applications received after January 1, 2021
|Residential - wood frame, 6 storeys or less|
|Commercial - office, retail (Groups D or E, Part 3)||2|
|Assembly or Care - restaurant, hospital (Groups A or B, Part 3)||1|
|Remaining Part 9 Buildings to which Step Code applies||3|
The key performance metrics of the Step Code may be separated into three categories:
- equipment and systems; and,
- building enclosure.
Based on our location, in Zone 4, the BC Energy Step Code provides the minimum/maximum permitted threshold for the following:
- air changes per hour (based on the testing of air leakage);
- energy consumption (HVAC, hot water, fans, etc); and,
- energy demand (considers energy gain/losses through building enclosure).
Specific metrics are available from the Step Code, the Building Department or your Energy Advisor.