What is the BC Energy Step Code?

    The BC Energy Step Code is a provincial standard intended to provide an incremental approach to achieving more energy-efficient buildings that will help the province meet its goal of having all new buildings be Net Zero Energy ready by the year 2032. ‘Net zero’ means that any emissions are balanced by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere.

    These incremental steps:

    • Start with Step 1 working with an Energy Advisor – energy modelling understand consumption and testing airtightness and
    • Finish with Step 5 where new homes must perform 80% better than the current 2018 Building Code, net-zero energy ready.

    What is the Provincial Government’s timeline for implementing Energy Step Code - residential?

    The Province's goal is for all new building will be Net Zero Energy ready by the 2032. This will be implemented incrementally with new homes being:

    • 20% more energy efficient by 2022 (Step 3)
    • 40% more energy efficient by 2027 (Step 4)
    • 80% more energy efficient by 2032 (Step 5)

    compared to the current 2018 BC Building Code.

    What is new with introducing the Energy Step Code ?

    It introduces new energy performance targets:

    • Building Envelope Efficiency– building enclosure insulation and air-tightness, solar gain and the ventilation system.
    • System and Equipment Efficiency – heating, water heating, ventilation, lights & plug load
    • Performance - Air-tightness measured through Blower Door Test by air charges per hour

    What are the benefits of Energy Step Code?

    The easiest and most cost effective time to make energy efficiency upgrades is during the construction of new buildings. The additional benefits are associated with higher performing buildings, including:

    • Increased comfort
    • Quieter homes
    • Improved indoor air quality
    • Increased building durability and ease of maintenance
    • Reduced utility costs

    What is the impact on construction costs?

    Getting the design right upfront is the most cost effective way of meeting the standard. Working with an Energy Advisor allows builders to identify cost effective ways to meet the energy performance requirements.

    In areas with a similar climate, builders are meeting Step 3 through additional attention on air-tightness and increasing insulation thickness.

    The cost for Step 1 is the Energy Advisor. There are currently rebates to assist with this cost.

    What is the cost of an Energy Advisor?

    Energy Advisor's rates generally range from $1,000 to $1,500 per project.

    Do we have any Energy Advisors serving our region?

    Yes. Currently there are Energy Advisors located in Rossland, Nelson, Penticton and Kelowna. We expect more people to become qualified as the demand for services increases.

    Does increased air-tightness cause problems?

    Airtight buildings do not allow for the transfer of indoor and outdoor air therefore you need a mechanical ventilation system to help ensure that the building receives enough fresh air and that indoor air, along with excessive moisture and particulate matter, is properly vented to the outside.

    Houses ventilated smartly bring plenty of fresh air into the home and recover heat from the exhaust air leaving the building.

    The advantages of air-tightness are:

    • Dramatically Lower Energy Bills
    • Improved Building Comfort
    • Improved Energy Efficiency for Heat Recovery Ventilation Systems
    • Improved Whole Building Energy-Efficiency
    • Reduced Moisture Infiltration Levels

    How will this impact the building permit process and requirements?

    Building Permit Application:

    • Submit the energy modelling report and the BC Energy Compliance Report – Pre-construction with Building Permit Application.


    • We recommended a mid-construction blower door test to find air leaks before construction is completed. During the construction process it is easier to rectify any air-tightness issues rather than once the building is complete.

    Completion and Final Documents:

    • When the building is completed, the Energy Advisor a undertakes blower door test to measure the air tightness.
    • Submit the energy modelling report As-built and BC Energy Compliance Report (As-built form) with final building documentation.

    What is the FortisBC Energy Advisor Support Incentive?

    Effective April 1, the Energy Advisor Support Incentive will increase to $1,000 and be available until December 31, 2022. These changes will continue to enable energy-efficiency to remain top of mind, and homes can be built with resiliency from day one. 

    Energy Advisor Support Incentive $500 -> $1,000

    • The energy advisor receives $100 -> $200
    • The builder receives - $400 -> $800

    Please note these incentives will not be available when step code becomes mandatory in December 2022.

    What is the FortisBC New Home Program enhanced incentive?

    The New Home Program enhanced incentives will be extended until December 31, 2022.

    Option A – Home Performance (Step Code)

    • Step 2 - $1,000 -> $3,000
    • Step 3 - $2,000 -> $4,000
    • Step 4 - $4,000 -> $6,000
    • Step 5 - $8,000 -> $10,000

    Option B – High-Efficiency Water Heaters

    • ENERGY STAR® 0.67 EF Storage Tank - $200 -> $500
    • Heat pump water heater - $1,000 -> $2,000

    (only for homes built in FortisBC’s electricity service area)

    Additional rebates

    • EnerChoice® Natural Gas Fireplace - $300 -> $500

    What is the FortisBC Design Offer incentive?

    The Design Offer incentive will be extended until December 31, 2022. The incentive offers up to $7,000 for builders pursuing Step 3, 4 or 5 when working with Integrated Design Process facilitators and/or Envelope and Mechanical consultants. For more information on the Design Offer, please click here.