BC Energy Step Code

Several local governments in the Capital Region are commencing engagement with building industry on the upper steps of the BC Energy Step Code and Low Carbon Energy Systems (LCES) in new buildings. The Town of View Royal is participating in this work.

Earlier this month industry workshops were held to discuss step code implementation and LCES in new buildings. Like many municipalities, the Town of View Royal is exploring how we can harmonize our approach to implementation of new requirements.

Step Code Survey: Higher Steps & Low Carbon Energy

This survey will be used to gather building industry feedback on the next phase of the BC Energy Step Code, specifically to:

  • Understand current awareness and preparedness;
  • Identify the best mechanisms to support industry; and
  • To get feedback that will help inform local government options for implementation.

Take the Survey

The survey is open until March 27.

Engagement Process & Timeline

The purpose of these Industry Workshops/Initial Information Sessions was to:

  • Provide background on the BC Energy Step Code and its adoption in the capital region
  • Provide an overview of Low Carbon Energy Systems and GHG emissions considerations for new buildings
  • Outline Provincial and local government direction and targets for higher steps of the BC Energy Step Code and GHG emissions/Low Carbon Energy System performance standards
  • Present approaches taken to achieve higher steps of the Step Code and Low Carbon Energy Systems in new buildings
  • Offer the opportunity for questions
  • Outline the industry engagement process and timeline, ways to provide input and next steps

New BC Energy Step Code requirements came into effect in View Royal beginning January 1, 2020.

Building permits for new construction applied for on or after January 1, 2020 will need to demonstrate compliance with the BC Energy Step Code. At present the Town is aligned with the provincial requirements. Building permits for new buildings (Part 9 and Part 3 buildings) in View Royal are required to demonstrate compliance with Step 1 of the BC Energy Step Code. Step 1 involves measuring airtightness and energy performance to demonstrate that a new residential or commercial building will meet or exceed the minimum energy-efficiency requirements in the base BC Building Code.

What is the BC Energy Step Code?

The BC Energy Step Code is an optional compliance path in the BC Building Code that establishes progressive performance steps in energy efficiency for new buildings from the current BC Building Code level to net zero energy ready buildings by 2032.

Buildings represent approximately 33% of View Royal's community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  The Step Code presents an opportunity for the View Royal to make progress on our climate change commitments to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 45% (of 2007 levels) by 2030 and 100% reduction in emissions below the 2007 levels by 2050. The Step Code focuses on improvements to the energy efficiency of new buildings.

A Net Zero Energy Ready Building is a building built to high energy-efficiency standards such that it could (with additional measures) generate enough on-site energy to meet its own energy needs.

Building Type Definitions

  • Part 9: Houses and small buildings that are three storeys or less and have a building area no more than 600 square metres. Most commonly single family homes, duplexes and some townhomes.
  • Part 3 - Buildings that have a building area 600 square metres or greater or are greater than three storeys. Typically apartment buildings, condos, commercial, institutional or industrial uses.

What is the difference between a performance-based versus a prescriptive-based approach?

The Step Code provides a consistent provincial standard for energy efficiency to replace the wide range of existing policies and programs unique to each local government. It also supports consumer choice by taking a new performance-based approach rather than a prescriptive approach. This allows builders flexibility to develop using all available technologies as the Step Code does not specify how to construct a building, only identifies an energy efficiency target that must be met.

To comply with the BC Energy Step Code, builders will use energy software modelling and on-site testing to demonstrate that both their design and the constructed building meet the requirements of the standard. This approach is similar to that taken by many green-building certification programs, including Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Star for New Homes and R-2000 programs, and Passive House Certification, as well as the Canadian Home Building Association’s Net Zero Home and Net Zero Ready Home programs.

More Information and Resources

For information and resources on the BC Energy Step Code, including the implementation guide, costing study, technical webinars, incentives and FAQs, visit energystepcode.ca