BC Energy Step Code
What is the BC Energy Step Code?
Under the CleanBC plan, the Province of British Columbia has established a new set of energy efficiency standards that go beyond the baseline BC Building Code. This is called the BC Energy Step Code ("Step Code"). There are five "Steps" in Step Code, Step 1 through 5, with progressively greater energy efficiency requirements at each step. This is an incremental system, so the standards start at meeting BC Building Code and eventually increase to net-zero ready construction in 2032. While meeting BC Building Code is required for all builders, meeting Step Code has been voluntary. Starting in 2022, this standard will no longer be voluntary. All newly constructed homes and buildings will be required to meet either Step 2 or Step 3 depending on the type of building. See the graphic below for information on what buildings are required to meet each step, and when.
Graphic by BC Energy Step Code Council
The Step Code is a performance-based standard. It establishes measurable requirements for energy efficiency in new buildings, but it does not tell builders exactly how buildings should be constructed to meet those standards. To show compliance, a builder must prove to local building officials that the building meets or exceeds the house energy target of a reference house or building and the annual energy consumption of the proposed house or building. Essentially, the builder needs to demonstrate that the building meets or exceeds the efficiency standards set by the Step Code as outlined in the BC Building Code. This kind of standard ensures that baseline regulations are consistent for builders across the Province.
The Town of Sidney does not currently require that new construction meet Step Code requirements. However, it will be required starting in December 2022. More information including timelines for the requirements to come into effect will be posted on this page.
Why is this important?
Implementing BC Energy Step Code has many benefits:
- For residents:
- Better temperature management improves comfort of homes
- Better fresh air throughout the building improves health
- Better soundproofing reduces exterior noise
- Less energy required reduces utility bills
- For the community:
- Greater energy efficiency reduces GHG emissions and helps meet our climate targets
- Greater energy efficiency reduces the load on the grid at peak heating and cooling times
Rebates can be found through the CleanBC program and from BC Hydro, such as the CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program where you could receive a rebate of up to $15,000 for a new, high-performance, electric home.
- BC Hydro
- Fortis BC
Need some help?
- CleanBC Better Homes offers free energy coaching services for homeowners and businesses undertaking renovations, including a phone and email hotline staffed by energy coaching specialists. Learn more here.
- Looking for a contractor who has been trained in best practices to support your project? Learn more about Program Registered Contractors and find a Program Registered Contractor in your area here.
Want to learn more? Check out some of the links below.
- BC Step Code website resources:
- BC Housing Energy Step Code Builder Guide
- Community Energy Association Resources and Webinar Calendar
- Part 9 Buildings: Houses and small buildings that are three storeys or less and have a building are of no more than 600 square meters. Most commonly single family homes, duplexes, and some townhouses
- Part 3 Buildings: Buildings that have a building area 600 square meters or greater or are greater than three storeys. Typically apartment buildings, condos, commercial, institutional, or industrial uses.