BC Energy Step Code
New energy-efficiency standards take effect March 1, 2021
As of March 1, 2021, applications for new residential and commercial construction in Port Coquitlam will be required to meet minimum standards of the BC Energy Step Code. (The code does not apply to industrial or institutional construction.) To meet the standards, builders will need to work with a qualified energy consultant to demonstrate their construction complies with requirements for building envelope, equipment and systems, and airtightness testing.
The BC Energy Step Code sets out energy-efficiency requirements for new residential and commercial buildings. The intent is to have all new construction in BC operating with net zero energy consumption by 2032.
Implementing the Step Code in Port Coquitlam
Early adoption of the Step Code allows Port Coquitlam to make progress on our climate action commitments by improving the energy efficiency of new buildings.
The City’s phased approach will give builders time to familiarize themselves with the new requirements while still providing energy-efficiency benefits to the community, such as lower energy costs, greenhouse gas reduction, and consumer protection.
Homeowners also benefit. Along with reduced energy bills, energy-efficient buildings are also able to better manage temperature and reduce noise while letting in fresh air, improving comfort and health for occupants.
Resources and Technical Information
BC Building Code Part 9 – Small Residential: detached, duplex and row/townhouse dwellings less than 600m² in size.
BC Building Code Part 3 – Commercial; Large Residential: apartments, residential units in mixed-use buildings, and larger row/townhouse buildings more than 600m² in size.
Combustible – e.g. Wood-frame
Non-combustible – e.g. Concrete
Requirements Oct. 23, 2019 to Feb. 28, 2021
Small residential buildings such as single residential, duplex, and row/townhouse (less than 600m² and subject to Part 9 of the BC Building Code), and large non-combustible residential buildings such as concrete high-rises (subject to Part 3 of the BCBC) will need to meet Step 1 of the Step Code. Step 1 is intended to familiarize builders with air-tightness tests but building performance does not need to exceed the base 2018 BC Building Code.
Large combustible(wood-frame) residential buildings, such as wood frame apartment buildings, and commercial buildings (both subject to Part 3 of the BCBC) will need to meet Step 2 of the Step Code. Step 2 will require buildings to perform 20% better than 2018 BC Building Code requirements.
Requirements starting Mar. 1, 2021
Small residential buildings and large combustibleresidential buildings will need to meet Step 3 of the Step Code. Step 3 will require buildings to perform 20% and 40% more efficiently than base 2018 BC Building Code requirements respectively.
These lower steps give builders new flexibility in how to achieve modest gains in efficiency – through improved envelopes and/or upgraded systems.
To achieve these targets, builders and designers can rely on conventional building designs with careful air-sealing practices, and incrementally incorporate some key elements in the design, building envelope, equipment, and systems. Builders and designers should collaborate with the Energy Advisor to select the most cost effective way to meet the requirements.
Requirements starting Jan. 1, 2022
Large non-combustible residential buildings will need to meet Step 2 of the Step Code.
Requirements starting Jan. 1, 2024
Small residential buildings and large combustibleresidential buildings will need to meet Step 4, and commercial buildings will
need to meet Step 3 of the Step Code.
Further steps will be required in accordance with the Province’s implementation schedule.
In 2027, the Province requires all Large Residential and Commercial buildings to be built according to Step 3.
In 2032 all new buildings will need to be built to their highest step level: Step 5 for small residential and Step 4 for large residential and commercial.
Incentives and Rebates
- CleanBC’s Better Homes is B.C.’s online hub for homeowners and businesses to access information, rebates and support to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in new and existing homes and buildings.
- Home Renovation Rebate and EfficiencyBC Program for BC Hydro and FortisBC customers
- Rebate from $50 to $5,500 on home energy efficiency upgrades
- FortisBC New Home Program also has $1000-$8000 rebates for new, efficient homes
- Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Green Home Program
- Federal and Provincial GST/HST New Housing Rebate for homes valued up to $450,000
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the Step Code apply to renovations to existing buildings?
No. The Step Code only applies to new construction.
What is the benefit of the Step Code to the homeowner?
Buildings constructed with greater energy efficiency will reduce utility bills. These building will also be able to better manage temperature and reduce noise while letting in fresh air, improving comfort and health.
How can I make sure my building will meet the airtightness requirements?
The City strongly recommends a mid-stage blower door test to allow builders the opportunity to correct inadequacies prior to completion of the building.
How will this change building inspection procedures?
The City will continue to inspect buildings to ensure they meet code requirements, and consistency with building plans. Energy Advisor Reports will be provided to ensure that airtightness targets (and related building elements) meet requirements.
Why are there at different steps for combustible and non-combustible residential buildings?
The City is implementing the Step Code at a different rate for combustible (wood-framed) buildings. Non-combustible buildings are typically made of concrete, and entail energy efficiency measures that are often more challenging to implement.
What about Institutional and Industrial buildings?
Institutional and Industrial buildings are not yet included in the Step Code framework.