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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.
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:
Improved indoor air quality
Increased building durability and ease of maintenance
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.
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
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.
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 clickhere.