BC Energy Step Code

August 16, 2022

Building Codes

Energy Efficiency

How the BC Step Code Works:

The BC Energy Step Code is a voluntary provincial standard introduced in December 2017 to streamline and increase the construction of energy efficient buildings. Local governments have been integrating the step code by introducing incentives for builders meeting steps and forming bylaws for mandatory steps. Over time steps will be adopted into the BC building Code, with the goal to have all new construction net zero ready by 2032. For more information on how and when different BC municipalities are implementing the step code, please see Energy Step Code – Implementation Updates.

The BC Energy Step Code is a performance-based approach with an established outcome that allows builders and designers to achieve steps using their choice of materials and methods. Builders and designers will be expected to improve building efficiency as new energy conscious designs, systems, and materials become available and economical. Designers will use the advice from Energy Advisors to improve their home designs and lower the net energy use to qualify homes for any step.

To comply with the BC Energy Step Code, homes will undergo energy modelling and on-site testing to validate that both the design and the constructed building meet the requirements. During the design phase an energy model will be created using the plans to demonstrate the amount of energy the house would consume. It is recommended, but not required, that builders conduct one air blower test after applying vapor barrier and insulating the home. While it is an added cost, any issues that arise with the air tightness of the home can be much less costly and are easily addressed before the drywalling and finishing is completed. Once constructed, an Energy Adviser will visit the home where they will conduct field tests including a final air tightness test to measure the Air Changes per Hour (ACH).

For more information on the BC Energy Step Code website for more details.

All imagery provided by Energy Step Code.