BC Energy Step Code

New BC Energy Step Code requirements came into effect in Saanich beginning January 1, 2020.

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)
  • Step 2 for Part 3 commercial buildings

As of June 1, 2019, all new Part 9 building applications will also 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.

See our Step Code Fact Sheet [PDF - 963 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.

Buildings represent approximately 30% of Saanich's community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  The Step Code presents an opportunity for the District of Saanich to make progress on our climate change commitments to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The Step Code focuses on improvements to the energy efficiency of new buildings, complementing the existing residential retrofit programs that Saanich already supports.

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 did they come into effect?

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

As of January 1, 2020, building permits for new buildings (Part 9 and Part 3 buildings) will need to demonstrate compliance with Steps 2 or 3 of the Step Code, depending on building type (see above).

In addition, as of June 1, 2019, all new Part 9 building applications are 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.

Rebate and Incentive Programs

To help support the transition to Step Code, the District of Saanich is offering a limited-time $500 rebate supported by BC Hydro. The rebate applies to single-family homes, duplexes, and townhouses (Part 9 Buildings) that have electric heat and/or hot water systems.

To access the rebate, fill out the rebate application form [PDF - 216 KB] and submit it along with a Mid-Construction Verification Report to:

Inspection Services
Saanich Municipal Hall
770 Vernon Ave.
Victoria, BC V8X 2W7

Questions about the rebate?

Phone 250-475-5471
Email: sustainability@saanich.ca


The CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program provides rebates up to $15,000 for the construction of new, high-performance, electric homes. Single family homes, laneway homes/ garden suites, duplexes and row or townhomes are eligible. Confirm eligibility by filling out the pre-registration form.

New Part 9 homes that have natural gas space and water heating may qualify for FortisBC’s home performance and other rebates tied to Step Code. More information on FortisBC's New Home Construction Rebates is available here.

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.

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 [PDF - 963 KB] here.