BC Energy Step Code – Quick Intro – Marken Passive House Canada
The BC Energy Step Code is a provincial standard enacted in April 2017 (and voluntary till December 15 2017) that provides an incremental and consistent approach to achieving more energy-efficient buildings that go beyond the requirements of the base BC Building Code.
To comply with the BC Energy Step Code, builders must use energy modelling software and on-site testing to demonstrate that both their design and the constructed building meet the requirements of the standard. They may use any materials or construction methods to do so.
Progressively Higher Steps
The new standard sets performance requirements for new construction and groups them into “steps” that apply across various building types and regions of the province. The lower steps are relatively straightforward to meet; the upper steps are more ambitious.
All authorities having jurisdiction to enforce the BC Building Code—including local governments—can choose to require or incentivize builders to meet one or more steps of the BC Energy Step Code as an alternative to the code’s prescriptive requirements.
This approach echoes that taken by many green-building certification programs, including Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Star for New Homes™ and R-2000™ programs, and The Canadian Passive House Institute Passive House™ certification, as well as the Canadian Home Building Association’s Net Zero Home™ and Net Zero Ready Home™ programs.
Over time, as high-performance designs, materials, and systems become increasingly available and cost-effective, the building industry will integrate new techniques into all new buildings. By 2032, the BC Building Code will move towards the higher steps of the BC Energy Step Code as a minimum requirement. The National Building Code of Canada will similarly be moving towards this outcome by 2030.
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