BC Energy Step Code Implementation

What is the BC Energy Step Code?

The BC Energy Step Code is a provincial standard that provides a clear and incremental approach to achieving more energy-efficient buildings in British Columbia. The implementation of the BC Energy Step Code involves five steps - each of which represent an increasingly higher level of energy efficiency. Starting May 1st, builders and designers will be required to start building to Step 3 of the code, or roughly 20% more energy efficient. At any time they can go above and beyond to create structures that are even more energy efficient. Target deadlines for the upper steps are 2027 for Step 4 and 2032 for Step 5.

 What does the BC Energy Step Code Entail?

The steps focus on several aspects of a building's design and construction, such as its insulation, air-tightness, heating and cooling systems. The implementation of the BC Energy Step Code involves working with building professionals, such as architects, engineers, and builders, to ensure that new buildings meet or exceed the requirements of the code. The code requires Energy Advisors to conduct energy modeling and testing to determine a building's energy performance and ensure that it meets the requirements of the required step.

The implementation of the BC Energy Step Code aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower energy costs for building owners and tenants, and create more comfortable and healthier living and working environments. It also encourages the use of innovative building technologies and practices that can help to create a more sustainable and resilient built environment.


How is the BC Energy Step Code Implemented?

At this time builders and designers have the option to consider either a “prescriptive” or “performance” based approach to energy efficiency. Most builders in British Columbia choose to take the “prescriptive” approach, meaning they will ensure their buildings meet specific requirements for insulation, windows, furnaces, water heaters, lighting and other equipment and systems. However they do not look at the big picture, which means these buildings are necessarily as environmentally friendly as they could be. Conversely, following the “performance” based approach gives builders the ability to comply with the energy-efficiency guidelines of the BC Building Code, but allows them to decide how to reach these standards on their own. Energy Advisors use energy software modelling and on-site testing to assist builders in demonstrating that both their design and the constructed building meet the requirements of the standard. Our expert Energy Advisors are well-versed in the various BC Energy Step Code requirements across British Columbia. We assist home builders in meeting these requirements through mandatory energy modeling and on-site testing of each individual home. For more information on how Ecolibrium can help you, contact us.