Discussion 6 – Stronger Codes and Standards (Improving Buildings)



Stronger Codes and Standards

One of the most effective ways for government to drive clean and efficient buildings is through the evolution of codes and standards. For example, while the B.C. Building Code applies to all new construction in the province, since 2017, local governments have had the option of adopting the voluntary B.C. Energy Step Code (ESC).

The ESC sets energy performance targets for new buildings, provides a technical roadmap for users, and supports continuous improvements to the B.C. Building Code. The highest step of the ESC for any building type is “net zero energy ready,” which is up to 80 per cent more efficient than the current base B.C. Building Code.

By 2032, the highest standards of Energy Step Code will apply to most new construction in B.C. In other words, the ESC will move from being a voluntary standard, applicable only in some municipalities, to being the minimum standard for all of British Columbia. This approach aligns with the national building strategy.

To support this transition, government is proposing to increase the energy efficiency requirements in the B.C. Building Code in 2022 and 2027. This will provide more certainty as industry, building owners and communities focus on cleaner growth.

Compared to the current base B.C. Building Code, new homes would have to be:

  • 20% more energy efficient by 2022, and
  • 40% more energy efficient by 2027.

Local governments are already using the Energy Step Code to make the buildings in their communities progressively cleaner and more efficient. To date, at least 28 local governments have begun consultations with their communities and at least 11 local governments have introduced bylaws/policies that reference the ESC.

Questions:

  • How can the provincial government help support industry and local governments as they transition to the Step Code over time?
  • What are the best opportunities for us to work together to support housing affordability and help offset the upfront costs that are often associated with energy-saving and emission-reducing retrofits?

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49 responses to “Discussion 6 – Stronger Codes and Standards (Improving Buildings)

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    [-] Christine

    Offer financial incentives to use the cleanest heat possible and also for increasing the home’s efficiency to a measurable degree. Residential wood heat contributes 33% of the Black Carbon emissions in Canada. Subsidize only the clean non biomass forms of heating in order to be able to meet the challenge of climate change.

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    [-] Richard

    Offer financial incentives to use the cleanest heat possible and also for increasing the home’s efficiency to a measurable degree. Residential wood heat contributes 33% of the Black Carbon emissions in Canada. Subsidize only the clean non biomass forms of heating in order to be able to meet the challenge of climate change.

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    [-] jennifer

    offer financial incentives to use the cleanest heat possible and also for increasing the home’s efficiency to a measurable degree.

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    [-] Ralph

    – Strongly support the development of building code for existing buildings, that includes ghgi targets as well as energy efficiency. Code that includes energy benchmarking requirements should be prioritized.
    – Support ongoing increases to energy efficiency standards for equipment, ghg intensity standards should be considered.
    – Achieving ghg reductions necessary to meet Paris commitments will require explicit ghg targets and will not be achieved by energy efficiency requirements alone. It is encouraging to see GHG emission reductions included in the Intentions Paper, but the current text is somewhat limited and vague. Stronger commitments to develop GHG intensity targets for buildings and more detail on options is encouraged.
    – Measures that require, encourage and support building owners to install and operate electric vehicle charging stations is welcomed. Support for charging stations in multi-family buildings is especially important, strata bylaws that support ev charging and ‘right to charge’ policies are encouraged

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    [-] Cathy

    The BC Building Code must be made more stringent. The time period for change is too long. Make it shorter. All social housing (and there must be much more social housing provided) must be made energy efficient.
    Climate change is happening now. The time for action is now.

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    [-] Erin

    The step code is a good start, but it needs to be implemented at an accelerated pace. The longer we delay on these changes, the more expensive they will be! Buildings should be regulated to achieve the lowest ESC by 2020, the highest by 2025, and Passive House standard by 2027. Being “net zero ready” is not good enough – we need to be clear about when we are making the transition so that industry professionals can start planning and adapting now, or we risk facing heightened resistance. Additionally the ESC MUST integrate a carbon emissions requirement to be truly effective, such as the Vancouver Zero Emissions Plan.

    All houses should be required to have an energy audit before they can be placed on the real estate market, or before they can be rented, and that information should be publicly available on a centralized website so that buyers & renters can factor energy costs into their choice of housing. Students and low-income earners are often taken advantage of through rental agreements where full disclosure of energy costs is not a requirement.

    All new buildings, starting in 2020, need to be prepped for independent power generation.

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    [-] gv

    I support a quick transition to low carbon new housing mandated provincially. Leaving it up to the municipalities does not respond to the urgency of the situation. We should be regulating carbon emissions, not just energy efficiency. I support buildings getting to at least net zero (not net zero ready) and being low-carbon renewable-energy powered ASAP – sooner than 2032. Passive houses are already built in BC and have proven themselves internationally for single family, multi-family, and institutional building uses. I also urge the next building code iterations to incorporate climate adaptation – design for bigger cooling loads, air filtering, consequent changes to building envelope, etc. Water capture and re-use should also be included. New buildings should also provide for electric vehicle charging, and if possible, produce the net energy needed for the EV onsite. Onsite generation could be solar, geothermal, or connection to district energy running on renewable energy.

    Housing affordability has very little to do with energy efficiency design. So this advice below must be combined with greater affordability strategies such as penalizing unoccupied homes, regulating real estate, and cracking down on money laundering, etc. With that said, as for upfront costs for market sale homes, work with lending institutions and energy labellers to look at overall monthly costs (operating, maintenance, and mortgage payments) all together, so the benefits of smaller energy bills are taken into account.

    For rental homes, build more co-ops that meet net zero energy and carbon targets.

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    [-] Nara

    While some continued industry is necessary and encouragement towards cleaner operations in the interim is indeed needed, ultimately we all need to be weaned off fossil fuels. Refunding carbon taxes to industry should not occur, the carrot on the stick is paying less for upgrading their equipment to be more efficient.
    The tax revenue should be reserved for home improvement incentives and subsidies for individuals, and grants for innovative research.

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    [-] Rebecca

    The scale of the climate crisis we are facing necessitates stronger and more urgent action than that proposed. In 2011, Brussels mandated all new buildings to meet the Passive House standard by 2015. If they can go to almost 100% more efficient in 4 years, it is pathetic to give us 10 years to get to 40%.

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    [-] Gerard

    While the ESC is a positive step (pun intended) towards realizing low carbon outcomes for new buildings, it has some shortcomings that we would suggest policy makers resolve in order to maximize it’s potential to be used as a climate action tool. One of the key shortcomings is discussed here:

    The ESC is fuel neutral. Reducing heat energy use (though better building envelopes) is important, but what is more important is the type of energy used to heat buildings. A Step 1 building using electricity (either direct use, or with heat pumps) will have a much lower carbon footprint than a Step 4 building using gas. Reduced demand and energy efficiency are important, but alone they don’t necessarily guarantee the low carbon outcomes policy makers are seeking if it is not accompanied with a carbon emission requirement, or some form of regulation to control the type of fuel used.

    The City of Vancouver’s Zero Emission’s Building Plan, or the CAGBC’s Zero Carbon Building Framework are two precedents that use a carbon metric in addition to an envelope performance metric. We would suggest ESC policy makers look to these codes when they consider updates

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    [-] peter

    Government can support the transition by gradually increasing the minimum step aggressively over time. The best opportunity is to quantify the lifecycle savings that buildings on the step code will generate. Some of that savings can then be used to finance the improvement.

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    [-] Kevin

    See my comments on the next question.

    Tell them it has to happen sooner than later. Strong enforcement. Forget voluntary compliance. Show them the economic case as. well as the environmental case.
    Those who end up renting or buying Code level construction homes pay for it for the rest of their lives. And more. Most people would happily add 25-30k to their mortgage if they knew that it would be the only part of their home that would be paid back in spades through energy $avings.

    Housing affordability needs to include, as has BCH recently, the calculations for energy savings over the lifetime of the building. When properly explained (how energy poverty is exacerbated by poor design and construction) it allows for political support for subsidizing construction of affordable housing. When people hear that a $100,000 per door grant from BCH could mean almost 2x that in return as energy savings (if near net zero construction is achieved) it is much easier to sell support for affordable housing as a savings and a good investment for taxpayers instead of a handout.
    Promote the crap out of the money savings for low and middle income earners who end up living in these places, as well as the carbon reduction etc.

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    [-] Judith

    The province should work with local governments to provide incentives for passive standards – perhaps a PST reduction or elimination for building materials (or similar).

    The Step Code is a good approach. The lowest step should be mandated in the next 2 years (ie 2020 not 2022). The government should identify the barriers to building passive – not just cost of materials (as higher costs are offset by low energy bills), but lack of training for builders, lack of understanding by purchasers, roles of realtors, etc. We are willing to pay more for granite counter tops, surely we are willing to pay more for lower energy costs and better indoor air quality.

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    [-] Simon

    Energy efficiency is good, but this often means trapping moisture in building envelopes. Trapped moisture that is not handled can lead to many issues. For low cost construction and where there is an incomplete moisture management solution it may be wise to relax mandatory standards on efficiency.

    Perhaps credit can be given where solar, wind or local power is generated by renewable means such as bio-energy.

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    [-] Dr.

    I support the idea, but the timeline simply isn’t good enough. We don’t need another 14 years to max out the Energy Step Code. Builders are already producing Passive Houses with ultra-low energy demands. As of now, Passive House is a voluntary standard for energy efficient buildings, but the technical expertise already exists in this Province to make Passive-House-like standards the norm for *all* new buildings.

    Let’s move up the timeline to 2028 and require all new buildings to be ultra-low energy. Ten years is plenty of time for the expertise to filter through the industry.

    More importantly, let’s get a bit more ambitious about climate leadership around building codes. We have stringent emissions reductions targets that need to be met *now*!

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    [-] Monte

    The best opportunity to offset the upfront costs that are sometimes associated with energy-saving and emission-reducing retrofits is to transform the supply chain and trades training as swiftly as possible.

    The slow approach of the Step Code leads to increased costs, because suppliers delay introduction of upgraded products until the higher codes take effect. Similar issues with training.

    If code required high-performance windows, walls, ventilation and other components in all new construction and renovation beginning in the next code cycle, then suppliers would transform product lines all at once. Yes, this would be hard on suppliers for a three-year cycle. But everyone, including suppliers, would be better off in five years. Costs of better components would equalize quickly. Suppliers would find new export opportunities. And buildings would improve more quickly and at less cost.

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    [-] Louise

    All retrofits, codes and standards should relate to renewable power sources only. We do not have “time” for intermediate steps. This shift is decades late already.

    Democratize energy so that small-scale personal and community initiatives (including Indigenous initiatives) can produce renewable energies throughout the province, and connect to a regional “co-operative” grid. Make Hydro a publically owned and operated facilitator and coordinator of energies produced by the cooperative regions. Then Hydro would not be in conflict of interest with the most flexible and least expensive renewable energies available.

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    [-] Louise

    All retrofits should relate to renewable power sources. We di not have “time” for intermediate steps. Democratize energy so that small-scale personal and community initiatives (including Indigenous initiatives) can produce renewable energies throughout the province, and connect to a regional co-operative grid. Make Hydro a publicly owned facilitator and coordinator of the cooperative regions..

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    [-] Donovan

    Having just recently completed a net-zero ready residential build (shortly before the BC Energy Step Code introduction), I see the ESC as a significantly positive initiative. Kudos to the wide range of people and organizations that have contributed to its development!

    That stated, I think that there is room for the provincial government to drive its adoption much more aggressively. Ideally with incentives to encourage early adopters in all regions of the province. Further, to work with the City of Vancouver to have this jurisdiction fully on board. Not being part of the program sends a mixed and negative message. The construction trade and need for all parties to get up to speed and training is too challenging to have players not on the same page so to speak.

    Further, the ESC needs to expand scope (if a living document as per the Clean Growth Intentions approach). Fundamentally, the approach is needlessly self-limited to “net-zero ready”. The program should be expanded in scope to include “net-zero”. Actually, “net-zero plus.” Net-zero is important in scope when it comes to planning…. and most typically would include adding solar PV.

    “Net-zero plus” simply carries the concept logically to enable integrating the energy requirements of the building envelope to include the energy requirements of electric vehicles. Well, that’s what I’ve done on a personal level with my residential build.

    Planning a “net-zero ready” and a “net-zero” ready project all too easily would have mis-matches. For example in optimizing roof designs for adding solar PV.

    “Net-zero plus” makes sense in that there is an opportunity to integrate building and transport energy needs together, and thus should be part of the BC Energy Code framework.

    Thus….. consider adding ESC level 6 for “net-zero.” And ESC level 7 for “net-zero plus”.

    As well, the need to integrate more seamlessly BC Hydro tariff structure and their net-metering program to reflect such frameworks.

    Finally, consideration is needed to encourage community solar gardens. Both for MURB structures, but also for individuals regardless of their residential situation. While BC Hydro is dam-centric, there is no reason why utilities (Fortis) can’t be involved in such programs such as recently completed by the City of New Westminster. Clean growth solutions are going to be more effective that serve the needs of the wider public in terms of maximizing options available.

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    [-] Susan

    Follow California’s lead in requiring new builds to incorporate solar.
    Instruct BC Hydro to purchase excess solar power at fair market price, which will help offset upfront costs.

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    [-] Jennell

    Recent changes to BC’s Building Act have made it more difficult for local governments to regulate items outlined in the Code. While this makes sense on many fronts, to ensure safety and consistency, it inadvertently has limited a local government’s powers to prevent the installation of wood stoves as this is part of the Building Code.

    If truly we want to work towards the use of “cleaner fuels”, local governments must be able to choose to prevent any future installations of wood stoves. In communities with current, known air quality issues, this is a pressing need. In the Comox Valley, for example, every winter their are multiple air advisories largely a result of residential wood heat. Well over 1/3 of the harmful fine particulate in a given year comes from residential wood heat. Yet, as the population grows and as electricity costs increase, people continue to install wood burning appliances in both new and old construction.

    As an initial step, the power to prevent new installations should be provided to local governments. In the longer term, as changes to the building code are considered, it may be appropriate to limit, province-wide, the installation of wood burning appliances in more populated areas based on very clear research that they negatively impact public health and safety.

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    [-] Tim

    This program needs to be accelerated.!

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    [-] Doug

    Why not require, incentivize, or provide (as I believe Metro Vancouver does) energy efficiency audits for strata corporations? There are likely large energy savings (aka affordability) opportunities for them that they’re not aware of. The audit could be tied to the depreciation report, though may not be needed as often.

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    [-] Laurie

    Stop talking about it and get it done! It;s horribly overdue!

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    [-] Pembina

    We support the Province’s intention to increase energy efficiency requirements in the B.C. Building Code (BCBC) in three steps until 2032 when net-zero energy ready performance is reached.

    In order to reach a net-zero energy ready performance by 2032 , The two interim steps include making the code require 20% and 40% better energy efficiency by 2022 and 2027, respectively. For homes, this is equivalent to Step 3 and Step 4 of the B.C. Energy Step Code (ESC)
    This Province-wide regulatory backstop provides clarity to the industry and consistency with the Energy Step Code. It is paramount that the Province supports local governments that are adopting the ESC ahead of this schedule. This will ensure the bulk of designers, builders, and contractors in areas where most of the construction occurs are ready to deliver high performance construction before these deadlines, and that local governments have the capacity to enforce these energy requirements.

    In order to provide an effective climate protection strategy, the Province’s code requirements should address not only energy efficiency, but also carbon pollution. At the moment, the B.C. Building Code is silent on carbon pollution, only setting targets for energy use and energy cost.
    Our recommendations include:
    Proceed with proposed extension of the B.C. Energy Step Code to new building types and climate zones and support its implementation, in preparation for future regulation.
    Target efficiency improvements aligned with Step 3 for multi-unit residential buildings in BCBC-2022, for climate zones 4 and 5.
    Incorporate carbon emission intensity targets into the B.C. Energy Step Code as opt-in requirements for local governments.
    Work with the federal government to add climate mitigation and climate adaptation as explicit objectives of the national building codes, and start to include climate protection metrics as objectives in the 2022 B.C. Building Code.

    For the Pembina Institute’s full submission, see: http://www.pembina.org/pub/bc-clean-growth-intentions

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    [-] Casey

    Stop undermining your own building code standard by granting 160 municipalities the ability to leap into their own energy efficiency levels. Any changes in energy efficiency for new homes should be done province-wide supported by affordability, education and proven practice after diligence and in concert with the National Building Code. BC’s Step Code circumvents the National Building Code. This is the Victoria Residential Builderrs Association’s position on the irresponsible & risky Step Code:
    Step Code fast-tracks high levels of energy efficiency without certified education, affordability or proven practice as required by programs like Built Green.
    Step Code does not effectively address climate change. There is a reduction of only 1 or 2 air changes per hour (GHGs) in new homes. Renovation of older homes through a reno tax credit saves up to 40 air changes.
    Step Code violates the agreement to harmonize BC’s building code with Canada’s National Code. Diligence is ignored, undermining consumer protection. For example, a BC scientist has discovered radon gas may be prevalent in North Shore municipalities, and yet these municipalities have already started on Tier 3 of the Step Code without this knowledge. Municipalities are not qualified to invoke code standards outside of the National Building Code process.
    The BC govt’s Step Code estimates are too low. They claim a Tier 5 (Passive Home) costs only $17,450 more to build. Our survey of Built Green/Passive Home builders reveals costs of at least $55,000 to $110,000. In this market, bet on the high side.
    Step Code enforcement is a big responsibility for municipal taxpayers. The Municipal Insurance Association says “Building bylaws are one of local governments’ greatest exposures to liability risks.” The City of Delta discovered this when ordered by a judge to pay $3 million in a leaky condo lawsuit in 2001.
    Municipalities like Victoria and Saanich have some of the slowest and most expensive building processes in the CRD. Step Code is certain to make it worse.
    Fast-tracking energy efficiency is both irresponsible and costly. Step Code is the wrong way to achieve more energy efficiency. Consumer protection is more important than marginally increasing energy efficiency in already reasonably energy efficient new homes.

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    [-] Jae

    BC needs to build economies of scale for these high performance building products. We should make use if the European Free Trade Agreement so that best practice EU building products are accessible for BC consumers. We need to be aware that many EU standards for performance and environmental impact assessment are superior to our own and to get the barriers to Canadian and Provincial certification out of the way.

    Heat pumps should be the standard default because they are able to also provide cooling which is becoming a bigger issue every year with extreme weather, along with LED lights and high performance insulation etc. In British Columbia, most residential and commercial emissions are the results of fossil fuels—overwhelmingly, natural gas—burned in furnaces for space heating and in boilers for domestic hot-water provision. A variety of proven technologies could significantly reduce these emissions via electrification. Options include air source heat pumps, which could reduce the carbon emissions of gas heating by 98 per cent and, where applicable, ground-source heat pumps, which could reduce emissions even further. The BC step code will, over time, serve to significantly improve the efficiency of new buildings through BC’s commitment to net-zero energy-ready new construction by 2032. However, demand-side efforts will be inadequate to deliver the carbon reductions that have been outlined above.

    While electric-resistance heating—for example, electric baseboard heaters—offers a much lower carbon option than natural gas, it is a very costly way to heat a building. However, heat pumps, which currently involve a higher up-front investment, provide extremely low-carbon space heating at a fraction of the operational cost. A heat pump works like a refrigerator running in reverse—it extracts heat from outdoor air, ground, or water, and transfers it inside the building. Modern air source heat pumps typically, when averaged over the year, produce around 3 kW of heat for every 1 kW of electricity, while its ground-source counterpart typically produces 4.5 kW of heat for every 1 KW of electricity.

    Air source heat pumps can efficiently heat buildings when the external air temperature is above -15 C. With backup when needed from a direct electric-heating element, the heat pump can heat a building regardless of the external air temperature. This additional heating element drops the efficiency to approximately 1kW of heating per 1 kW of electricity. A properly designed and installed ground source heat pump provides highly consistent efficiency throughout the year.

    Electrically powered low-carbon energy sources suitable for British Columbia are:
    • Air source heat pump
    • Industrial waste heat recovery
    • Sewer heat recovery
    • Ground source heat pump
    • Solar thermal heat exchange
    • Water source heat pump, river, lake and ocean

    Some examples of electrified low-carbon heating projects in British Columbia include:
    • The Alexandra District Energy Utility, in Richmond, B.C. uses ground and air source heat.
    • The Southeast False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility, in Vancouver B.C., sewer heat.
    • Cheakamus Crossing District Energy System, in Whistler B.C., uses wastewater heat.
    • Both the Bella Bella Heat Pump project, led by Ecotrust Canada, and the Haida Gwaii Heat Pump Project, led by the Skidegate Band Council, use air source heat pumps to reduce heating bills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve local air quality.

    There is a need to integrate carbon emissions into the step code and ensure that gaps between what is designed and what is built are closed.

    Training and quality control standards will need to be improved and standardized (hopefully beyond BC). It is important to understand the time frames needed for the education systems to be revamped and for existing trades and other professionals to be up skilled.

    Jae Mather
    Executive Director
    Clean Energy BC

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    [-] Karl

    For the transition to ESC, #1 is research to ensure the code is as effective and appropriate as possible, for credibility’s sake (remember the leaky condo saga?). #2 is education of all builders and trades to ensure they know how to build to the new standard (again, leaky condo memories). #3 is inspection to catch cheating builders and counter rumours that the new code can be evaded.

    For affordability, promote increased acceptance and use of micro-sized units, including ‘tiny houses’ that can easily be relocated as needed.

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    [-] william

    It is my opinion, informed by my activities as a professional engineer in BC , that the direction promoted for the building code for buildings in BC to be more energy efficient may not be as deeply based on good engineering practice as initially thought.
    Examples- the office where I work is changing to LED lighting but now consumes more natural gas to make up the heat gain originally from incandescent lighting
    Example – thriple glazing in the lower mainland may only provide miminal /minicule savings, that do not offset the environmental impact of adding the extra glass. The local climate is too temperate
    Example: acres of flat and sloped roofs in the lower maintain are a vast untapped resource for locating solar panels to generate hi grade electrical power and lower grade thermal power. The incentives are very low and there is resistance from BC Hydro for excessive net metering. At a minium schools and other public buildings should be fitted with as much solar panels as possible both for energy savings and for the province to lead by example.
    Example; overly air tight buildings that rely 100% on mechanical ventilation rely 100% on efficient and skilled service to prevent them from becoming death trap from CO and CO2 and other gas buildups.

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    [-] Ian

    As a former certified energy advisor long-term funding is necessary. Requiring audits be completed on all homes before they are placed on the market (which was planned but never implemented) would really help boost energy efficiency measures.
    Municipalities should be given the authority to lend building owners monies to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings.

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    [-] Michael

    Education and training for all section of the industry including those who do retrofits. Trades need to learn that they can increase their business by up-selling customers on better energy saving. I have witnessed an insulation contractor persuade a homeowner that she did not need a double layer of crawl space insulation even though i had already explained to her that there would be NO extra cost because of the structure of the grants at the time. The contractor could have made more money by up-selling and the home owner could have had greater savings for no additional capital cost. All this because of ignorance on both sides.

    More financial institutions need to take into account energy costs in qualifying for mortgages – energy labeling would greatly help with this. Home builders would then have an incentive to make homes more energy efficient – they would sell better and more people would be able to get a mortgage on them.

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    [-] John

    “By 2032, the highest standards of Energy Step Code will apply to most new construction in B.C. In other words, the ESC will move from being a voluntary standard, applicable only in some municipalities, to being the minimum standard for all of British Columbia. ” Too slow by far. Industry and business have already had their say and gotten what they want, do nothing for as long as possible. ALL new structures should be doing this by now. Support industry and local governments with more tax dollars to get them to do what they must? Hard ask. Housing affordability is a land cost issue not the buildings.

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    [-] David

    1. If you are a business with a flat rooftop, there must be greenery on it (shrubs, flowers, pollinator-attractive species); otherwise pay an annual “environmental fee” of sorts. If you do comply, you get an annual grant on your business tax/license fee.
    2. If you are a business with a flat rooftop, you must collect rain water and incorporate it to your flush-water plumbing; otherwise pay an annual “environmental fee” of sorts. If you do comply, you get an annual grant on your business tax/license fee.
    3. If you have a business with a gabled/pitched roof building, you must install solar panels; otherwise pay an annual “environmental fee” of sorts. If you do comply, you get an annual grant on your business tax/license fee.
    4. Homeowner: Get a rebate on the purchase, installation, and maintenance of solar panels.

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    [-] Stacy

    All new builds should be equipped with rainwater harvesting and grey water systems. The talk of climate solutions and carbon neutrality rarely talks about water. Although BC has an amazing amount of rainfall – with global warming this may not be the case forever and the sooner action is taken, the better.
    Also, if rainwater is reused and grey water – it will be a cost savings for water treatment facilities. There will be less waste water that requires treatment.

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    [-] Mark

    There needs to be a massive investment in non-market rental housing, especially in larger cities (Metro Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna), since comparatively fewer rental units have been built since the 1970s, in favour of condos. This is a perfect opportunity to add affordable rental stock for low and middle-income residents while applying the strictest energy efficient methods (including adding solar panels).

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    [-] Carol

    This should be escalated. Remove restrictions on solar panels. And make it mandatory on any new build that it must be fitted with solar. And this could apply for geothermal or aqua thermal as well. And make an incentive for selling back to the grid.

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    [-] Robert

    Public-sector buildings must lead the way by being built/retrofitted to the highest energy step. Recover some energy from Vancouver’s over-heated property market through a carbon sales tax. Speed up the implementation to make step code obligatory everywhere. Cut down on all the alternative pathways and methodologies in the Code. Get the utilities to build low-carbon district energy systems and cap their energy price to that of electricity or natural gas.

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    [-] Stephen

    With respect to this matter I would suggest the panel review the following link: https://homefiresprinkler.org/fire-sprinklers-are-green/
    and then review the following attached report FM Global Environmental Impact of Residential Sprinklers.

    While the FM Global/HFSC study is eight years old, the data is still useful, in my opinion and like other jurisdictions have found residential sprinklers are an affordable solution that play a major role in reducing water consumption and the negative impact to the environment when a structure and contents is damaged by fire.

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    [-] Jesse

    Shorten the adoption schedule so that industry has incentives. How long did we get in World War 2 to prepare– did we measure that in years? Because the world responded quite rapidly.

    Use construction delivery methods that limit waste, improve delivery time and improve quality. Emerging knowledge of Lean Construction and Integrated Project Delivery appear very promising ways to increase our construction efficiency from below 65%.

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    [-] Helen

    In addition to the current focus on operational GHG emissions, addressing GHG emissions from buildings increasingly involves considering embodied GHG emissions (commonly referred to as “embodied carbon”). Embodied carbon in construction refers to the GHG emissions associated with the manufacturing, maintenance, and decommissioning of a structure. Indeed, roughly 20% of global GHG emissions are embodied in construction materials.

    The technology for calculating the life cycle impacts of buildings has advanced considerably and the data is now available to undertake life cycle assessment (LCA). Embodied GHG impacts can now become part of a GHG emission reduction regulatory framework for buildings. Indeed, the City of Vancouver requires the reporting of embodied GHGs already.
    A review of policies that address embodied GHGs in buildings at https://www.naturallywood.com/resources/embodied-carbon-buildings-and-infrastructure

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    [-] Glenn

    1) Bring in new building code requirements to meet ‘Passive House’ (PH) standards by 2022 and provide retraining for builders, engineers and developers in PH as well as update training at high schools and trade schools to include PH principles and practices.
    2) Develop retrofit techniques that are cost effective for home/business owners with generous (30-50%) incentives and zero interest loans.
    3) Mandate fitting south facing and flat roofs be made ready for solar panels and provide generous incentives to owners to buy solar + energy storage. In fact a $4.5B solar roof investment could essentially remove half of the BC single family home stock from the demand on BC Hydro’s assets and preserve our water resources going forward into our dryer climate change future.

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    [-] Sharon

    Local governments are indeed implementing the Step Code, although it does not go far enough fast enough to address the apparent rapidly changing climate conditions and GHG’s. Rebates and incentives need to be worthwhile to encourage people to retrofit or build to meet the new codes. However, BC Hydro’s recent retraction of suplus solar generation payments is a regressive move. A black mark on BC. Makes me wonder why we are going ahead with Site C dam. Why would homeowners and commercial builders want to go solar with this BC Hydro policy/action? There is a real disconnect here with the BC government’s desire to go green, and what BC Hydro is doing. Fix that first!

    Municipalities could also ban wood burning stoves. Air quality in our small city is atrocious in the winter. An AQ study done several years ago indicated that our air quality equivalent to that of Los Angeles. Lots of health related issues (asthma, etc.) in the winter months. Burning wood in the city is not a neighbour friendly activity.

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    [-] Julie

    This is great- thank you! I believe that Clean Growth must seriously consider that no more residential wood fireplace burning be allowed. Homes are way too close together. We, as a result, all are forced to breathe these toxins from wood smoke on the west coast, and on the Gulf Islands, where I live, it is particularly bad. Incentives /laws to help improve buildings with poor insulation would be helpful for those who need it. All new construction must have clean/green heating solutions, not wood burning fireplaces or cook stoves. It is no longer viable for our lungs or planet to have “recreational ” fires. Road dust in the summer also needs to be addressed, seeing as forest fires fill up our air/lungs in the summer, -winter it’s wood smoke. All smoke is toxic, and wood is worse than cigarettes, and we have dealt successfully with that one. Much appreciated! 🙂

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    [-] John

    Education and licensing of builders in the industry is critical to building energy efficient buildings. A rudimentary understanding of physics would be a good start.
    One big step forward in supporting housing affordability would be to convince banks, etc. to properly assess the economic advantages of energy efficient homes. Energy efficiency is an investment which pays dividends. The reverse is also true, inefficiency is a liability.
    One of the best opportunities to work together to support housing affordability and offset costs associated with energy saving would be to heavily discount the interest rates associated with those costs.

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    [-] Samantha

    I don’t know the best place for this feedback, but the BC government should require all NEW buildings to be outfitted with solar panels placed to obtain maximum energy from the sun, and should provide funds for EXISTING buildings to be outfitted with solar panels! I know this place is so cloudy a lot of the time, but solar energy will be a great supplement to hydro. I wish I knew more about the physics of these two types of energy, but from what I know we should definitely be putting solar panels on all buildings and finding more and better and cheaper ways to store this energy. The government is best suited to begin and support this effort because people/households have a lot of reservations about solar panels relating to cost and usefulness on a household-basis.

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    [-] Remi

    Continued roll out of education and training for all stakeholders.
    Carbon tax collected from natural gas use for homes should be directed at helping reduce energy consumption.
    The upfront costs of added efficiency are buried in the crazy housing market that has become unaffordable to most. If we use housing as an investment, and hope to get 5% or more growth in value each year, this will dwarf other costs. Keep pushing on housing affordability. How can Landmark homes build a net-zero energy home in Edmonton with a starting price of $399,737, which includes the lot, home, garage, net zero upgrades and GST, while in Metro Vancouver, this gets you a bachelor pad if your lucky. Prices in BC do not seem to reflect reality in other parts of the country.

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    [-] Neil

    Lots of builder training for smaller (i.e. single family builders) will be required to reach higher steps.

    Promotion of aesthetically-pleasing higher step buildings will be required to achieve buy-in in some planning circles (many are afraid step 5 means Soviet-looking buildings).

    The Province needs to support a large scale housing cooperative program like there was in the 1980s. People don’t home ownership, but they do need home security. Current Co-op have waiting lists of hundreds of people. Want to reduce the cost of housing – take the profit from development out of it, and you can easily build to an energy efficient standard that will benefit residents.

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    [-] John

    Solar PV and thermal energy systems are a fundamental part of moving to Net Zero for residential and commercial buildings.

    British Columbia is a global laggard in solar energy, and BC Hydro’s recent retraction of suplus solar generation payments puts us at the top of the laggard list!

    If you want to help industry transition to Step Code, then support energy efficient technologies – solar as a primary residential one – so that local suppliers, installers, and builders can actually make a business doing this.

    Recore the strategy at BC Hydro to get in line with the rest of the world on solar net metering. Solar PV is basically at grid parity now, but putting incentive or financing programs in place through the utility would greatly advance adoption rates and profitability for BC builders and suppliers.

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    [-] Glenn

    Well said!

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