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What is the BC Step Code?

Dec 13

What is the BC Energy Step Code 

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In 2023, British Columbia will be building all new homes as net-zero homes, which is about 80% more efficient than currently. These houses are comfortable and cheaper to heat and cool, and they are so ready for the future! This new standard will require energy advisor involvement and energy modeling dedicated to quantifying the design phase. This model guides and calculates air-tightness, heating needs, as well as mechanical efficiency and is required to meet a certain step of the energy step code.

Click here, and our expert team can break down the current BC Building Code for you. 

In the year 2027, energy efficiency requirements are going to increase by 40%. To be ready for this change, homes will need to be 30% more efficient than they are right now. The province of BC has introduced a new building step that aligns with the Clean BC Strategy released in 2018. The BC Energy Step Code was created to support the growth of clean energy technologies in British Columbia.

The energy step code is designed to react to the local climate. It varies by zone, so builders in every zone can achieve optimal efficiency based on their context. This is important because the solutions you need will depend on where your home is located in British Columbia. For instance, a house in Prince George may require different solutions than one found in Vancouver, and homes found in Campbell River may also have different needs than one in Kimberly.

Let's take a deep look into the steps:

1.For the first stage, an energy model is required. Your building will require an energy performance equivalent to BC's 2018 Building Code.

2-3. Two and three are higher performance targets from the 2018 BC Building Code. To meet these, designers and trades professionals can often rely on conventional building techniques with careful air sealing practices. They should work closely with their energy advisor during the design phase to find the best way to meet requirements.

4.The fourth step marks the beginning of the upper steps. To achieve the upper steps, designers and builders need to take an integrated approach and may need to make more substantial changes, and one might adopt design, layout, and framing techniques.

BC's buildings will become more comfortable, energy efficient, lower cost to run and contribute to a low carbon climate wise future. There are a number of resources available about the BC Energy step code. To learn more, visit