There is a revolution happing in code development in British Columbia. The rest of Canada is also seeing this. As a result, there has been an increase in residences being built with better energy performance. There has been a 70% increase in construction over the past two years. This increase is noted by the British Columbia local government.
The BC Energy Step Code being developed is set to be fully encompassing all new construction in British Columbia for 2032. The code has measurable performances at its root. It, however, does not prescribe specific approaches and materials. It does, however, indicate the lowest performance outcomes that are expected and each of these is grouped into the different steps of the code. Because of that builders now have this guide to using when designing and building new homes.
There are 5 steps that a home can meet according to the code. A step 5 home is the best at energy efficiency because it is the top of the tier. Due to this, the construction industry in the driver’s seat for creating the homes to meet this step code. Different experts from across the industry and at different stages of the home design to build process can help to create more efficient homes. These include architects, builders, and engineers who must all work together for a common goal.
These professionals are not left to their own devices. They must demonstrate with an energy model how their project will meet the requirements of each step of the code.
Metrics of the BC Energy Step Code
The Range of Metrics used in the BC Energy Step Code includes TEDI and MEUI. There is also, the percentage lower than EnerGuide Reference House. As well as there is airtightness. The latter is expressed as hour at a 50-Pa (1-psf) pressure differential (ach 50).
In December 2017, the government of British Columbia indicated that by 2032 it would need all newly built buildings to meet the specified energy performance requirements. As a result, the code came into force in December 2017. It is not a mere standalone code, it is instead a part of the British Columbia Building Code (BCBC) To meet the requirements, the government developed a directive that is transforming communities in the province steadily.
The BC Energy Step Code is already being used by several local governments. The number is currently growing. Because the local government as shown so much interest in the code, the province has provided alignment with the regulatory requirements and the steps of the code.
With each edition of the code, there is more stringency. As such there are changes in what is required for 2022, 2027 and 2032. This has triggered an increase in training for persons employed for different roles throughout the industry.
How the BC Energy Step Code Works
Each step of the code represents a higher amount of efficiency. Each step of energy efficiency is defined by a particular metric. It has already been made the standard in the bylaws of several communities. Each proposed new project must demonstrate its ability to meet the requirements of the current standard step.
As a result, an energy model must be submitted for any building project. This along with the necessary drawings are used for the application of a permit. The official will confirm if the project meets the requirement and will issue a permit. After the completion of the building, the builder must show that the building does confirm to and meets the standards as specified by the initial documents used to secure the permit to build.
This is step 1. Each step has different requirements because the protocol allows time for the industry to get up to the task. The highest is Step 5. It is the top step and denotes a net-zero energy ready single-family home. As a result, one can expect the utmost energy efficiency from a home with step 5 designation.
Increase in High-Performance Projects
Because of there being a buyer’s market, there is a huge rise in construction in British Columbia. Because of the CleanBC program, there is an added boost for new projects being built to the BC Energy Step Code. The CleanBC incentivized program targets Part 3 buildings. It also targets residences that are targeting Passive House Certification.