BC Energy Step Code

The BC Energy Step Code comes into effect in Saanich beginning June 1, 2019.

Buildings represent approximately 30% of Saanich community GHG emissions.  The Step Code presents a considerable opportunity for the District of Saanich to make progress on our commitment to an 80% reduction in our GHG emissions by 2050 by focusing on improvements to the energy efficiency of new buildings alongside the existing residential retrofit programs that Saanich already supports.

Beginning June 1, 2019, builders will be required to work with an energy advisor or energy modeler and submit pre-construction [PDF - 97 KB] and as-built [PDF - 102 KB] compliance forms or letters of assurance to demonstrate compliance with Step Code. See our Step Code Fact Sheet [PDF - 772 KB] for more information.

What is the BC Energy Step Code?

The BC Energy Step Code is an optional compliance path in the BC Building Code that establishes progressive performance steps in energy efficiency for new buildings from the current BC Building Code level to net zero energy ready buildings by 2032.

A Net Zero Energy Ready Building: is a building built to high energy-efficiency standards such that it could (with additional measures) generate enough onsite energy to meet its own energy needs.

What Steps has Saanich adopted and when will they come into effect?

Following building industry engagement and feedback, Council has adopted a phased approach to implementation of the Step Code to allow builders time to transition to the Step Code requirements.

From June 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019, building permits for new residential and commercial buildings (Part 9 and Part 3 buildings) will need to demonstrate compliance with Step 1 of the Step Code.  Step 1 involves demonstrating that a new residential or commercial building will meet or exceed the minimum energy-efficiency requirements in the base BC Building Code by measuring airtightness and energy performance.  Projects that have applied for building permits prior to June 1, 2019 will be considered in-stream and will not be subject to Step Code requirements.

Building permits applied for on or after January 1, 2020 will need to demonstrate compliance with the Steps adopted for that particular building typology:

  • Step 3 for Part 9 homes (excluding small single family dwellings less than 1,200 ft2)
  • Step 2 for Part 9 small single family dwellings less than 1,200 ft2
  • Step 3 for Part 3 mid-rise/wood-frame residential buildings (6 storeys and under)
  • Step 2 for Part 3 concrete high-rise residential buildings (over 6-storeys) and commercial buildings

As of June 1, 2019, all new Part 9 building applications will be required to provide and affix within the home, an EnerGuide Rating System energy label, a Passive House Certificate or a standard comparable energy label acceptable to the District of Saanich.

The District of Saanich will monitor implementation of the Step Code and how buildings are achieving the performance requirements over the coming years before adopting higher Steps of the Step Code.

Building Type Definitions

 
Part 9 - Houses and small buildings that are three storeys or less and have a building area no more than 600 square metres. Most commonly single family homes, duplexes and some townhomes.
 
Part 3 - Buildings that have a building area 600 square metres or greater or are greater than three storeys. Typically apartment buildings, condos, commercial, institutional or industrial uses.

What is the difference between a performance-based versus a prescriptive-based approach?

The Step Code provides a consistent provincial standard for energy efficiency to replace the wide range of existing policies and programs unique to each local government. It also supports consumer choice by taking a new performance-based approach rather than a prescriptive approach. This allows builders flexibility to develop using all available technologies as the Step Code does not specify how to construct a building, only identifies an energy efficiency target that must be met.

To comply with the BC Energy Step Code, builders will use energy software modelling and on-site testing to demonstrate that both their design and the constructed building meet the requirements of the standard. This approach is similar to that taken by many green-building certification programs, including Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Star for New Homes and R-2000 programs, and Passive House certification, as well as the Canadian Home Building Association’s Net Zero Home and Net Zero Ready Home programs.

Rebate and Incentive Programs

To help support the transition to Step Code, the District of Sanaich is developing a limited-time $500 rebate supported by BC Hydro. The rebate applies to single-family homes, duplexes, and townhouses (Part 9 Buildings). More information on the rebate program will provided here shortly.

There are also multiple incentives available for energy efficient buildings in addition to financial support for Step Code developments from FortisBC.  More information on those programs is available here.

More Information and Resources

For information and resources on the BC Energy Step Code, including the implementation guide, costing study, technical webinars, incentives and FAQs, visit energystepcode.ca. 

View our BC Energy Step Code Information for Applicants Sheet here.