The BC energy step code has been in place for over a year, but not many people know how the Step Code works. Each city has their own requirements, and the federal government indicates that by 2032, all residential buildings with seven or fewer stories must meet net-zero standards. The step code is currently a voluntary program to help get to this goal. This applies to newly built houses and existing homes, with a significant portion being renovated.
The step code has five levels, and each level has its own performance target. Designers, builders and homeowners have options for different materials and techniques that can be used at each step.
Step 1 – Improved Energy Efficiency Above the BC Building Code
- No requirement for air changes per hour.
- No specific requirements for energy use per year.
Step 2 – 10% More Energy Efficiency
- Air changes out 3 times per hour.
- Energy use per year of 35 kWh/m2/year.
Step 3 – 20% More Energy Efficiency
- Air changes out 2.5 times per hour.
- Energy use per year of 30 kWh/m2/year.
Step 4 – 40% More Energy Efficiency
- Air changes out 1.5 times per hour.
- Energy use per year of 20 kWh/m2/year.
Step 5 – Net-Zero Construction
- Air changes out 1 time per hour.
- Energy use per year of 15 kWh/m2/year.
How the BC Energy Step Code is Implemented in Vancouver and Burnaby
District of North Vancouver
North Vancouver has opted in at Step 3. If you are building in this area, you will need your home to be 20% more energy efficient.
City of North Vancouver
This city has opted for Step 3, but there are some neighborhoods that require Step 4. This step was put into place on the 1st of July 2018.
The standard here is Step 3. This was enforced on July 1st 2018.
There are currently no requirements in place, but the process of developing a step code proposal under Part 9 has been initiated. No start date has been declared, but we expect this to be put in place shortly.
If you intend to build, you can build to the step code requirements if your city doesn’t have a code in place. We recommend new buildings meet step 5 requirements. This will be better for the environment and for your health. It will also save you from making costly renovations when the Net-Zero step comes into play in 2050.