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BC Energy Step Code

The BC Energy Step Code is a performance-based standard that establishes five steps (or performance levels) for energy efficiency in new construction buildings in British Columbia, Canada. Builders can choose to meet any of the steps, or go beyond the code, based on the specific needs of their project and the desired level of energy performance.

To comply with the Energy Step Code, builders need to demonstrate that their building meets the requirements of the chosen step. This is typically done through energy modeling and/or on-site testing to verify that the building meets the required energy efficiency targets.

The Energy Step Code sets energy efficiency requirements for building envelope (including walls, roof, windows, and doors), heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The specific requirements for each step vary based on the building type and climate zone.

The BC Energy Step Code is a voluntary standard, which means that builders can choose to follow it or not. However, some local governments in BC have adopted the Energy Step Code as a mandatory standard for new construction buildings. Builders who follow the Energy Step Code may also be eligible for incentives or rebates from government programs or utilities.

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Step Code Advantage

  • Cost Reduction

    Our energy efficient techniques often times turn out saving developers money on building costs!

  • Home Owner Savings

    The savings continue to be passed down to the homeowner long after home development!

  • Customizability

    At Monolith Housing Solutions we make sure that your home will always be amenable to future upgrades.

Recognizing the Step Code

A set of voluntary, performance-based energy efficiency standards for new construction and major renovations is established under the BC Energy Step Code. It is divided into multiple “steps,” each of which denotes a more severe degree of energy efficiency. With the ultimate goal of creating “Net Zero Energy Ready” buildings by 2032, builders and designers can select the course of action that best suits their sustainability objectives and project specifications.

  • The performance approach for Step 3 in Part 9 construction remains the default option. Local governments wishing to enable a prescriptive energy efficiency approach for Step 3 in Part 9 construction must pass a bylaw to enable that approach. This responds to feedback from rural or remote communities who wish to maintain a prescriptive-based option, while also meeting requests from other local governments wishing to retain the performance-based approach.
  • Backup heat from wood stoves and decorative gas fireplaces will be excluded from GHG modelling in Part 9 buildings. This responds to feedback from communities that experience frequent power outages.

The Building and Safety Standards Branch will release more information in the coming weeks to support a smooth rollout of the change. Email if you have questions.

*Taken from the BC Energy Step Code newsletter February 2023

Effects on Construction Methods

Towards increased energy efficiency and sustainability, building practices must change in order to comply with the BC Energy Step Code. To achieve the specified energy targets, builders and developers must use cutting-edge building materials, creative design techniques, and high-performance building systems. Improvements in ventilation, heating, cooling, insulation, and airtightness are a few examples of what this entails.

Strategies for Compliance

In order to satisfy the energy performance standards, builders might use a variety of tactics, such as:

  • Energy advisers and building envelope experts should be consulted early to evaluate design options and maximize energy-saving methods.
  • employing energy modeling software to model building performance and pinpoint areas for enhancement.
  • Adoption of cutting-edge construction methods to maximize energy efficiency and reduce expenses and waste, such as prefabrication, modular construction, and integrated design approaches.

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