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.
- 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?