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EnerSolution Inc. is a Natural Resource Canada's Certified Service Organization

EnerSolution Inc.: Your Trusted Partner for Energy Audits and BC Energy Step Code Compliance

At EnerSolution Inc., we understand the significance of meeting BC municipalities' requirements for Step Code reports. Our team of expert energy advisors specializes in conducting comprehensive energy audits and providing the necessary compliance reports.

With the BC Energy Step Code, you have the opportunity to reduce costs and enhance the value of your project by upgrading various components. We offer tailored solutions that allow you to choose how to meet Step Code targets while striking the right balance between cost and customer value.

As part of our services, we assist home builders in optimizing their compliance with the BC Energy Step Code. We also help you navigate the rebate program designed to support your efforts in achieving energy efficiency goals. These rebates encompass various aspects, including reducing the cost of hiring an energy advisor, meeting specific Step Code levels, acquiring energy-efficient appliances and equipment, and even lowering the expense of mid-construction air leakage tests.

By partnering with EnerSolution Inc., you can ensure your eligibility for Step Code rebates of up to $8,000. Our experienced team is dedicated to providing exceptional support throughout the energy audit and compliance process. Contact us today at [insert contact information] to book your energy audit and begin your journey towards a more sustainable and cost-effective future.

What to expect from your Canada Greener Homes Grant home evaluation?

Whether you are an elected official, a builder or a tradesperson, it's important you know what the BC Energy Step Code is, and how the Province of BC is supporting the transition to net zero ready new building construction. The BC Energy Step Code is an optional compliance path in the BC Building Code that local governments may use, if they wish, to incentivize or require a level of energy efficiency in new construction that goes above and beyond the requirements of the BC Building Code.

How the BC Energy Step Code works

The Province of British Columbia first introduced energy efficiency as a BC Building Code objective in 2008. Ever since, designers and builders have had the option to use either “prescriptive” or “performance” approaches to comply with the code’s efficiency requirements.

To date, the vast majority of builders in British Columbia have pursued the prescriptive approach. Following this approach, buildings must meet specific requirements for insulation, windows, furnaces, water heaters, lighting and other equipment and systems. It focuses on individual elements, rather than ensuring the building functions well as a system. The result can be a building that does not perform as well as intended.

Builders have a second option to comply with the energy-efficiency requirements of the BC Building Code: the performance approach. The BC Energy Step Code offers a specific form of this approach.

The performance approach establishes a desired outcome, and leaves it to the design and building team to decide how to achieve it.

To comply with the BC Energy Step Code, builders must use energy software modelling 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.

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 Passive House Institute (in Darmstadt) certification, as well as the Canadian Home Building Association’s Net Zero Home™ and Net Zero Ready Home™ programs.

A high-performance staircase

As shown below, the regulation sets performance targets 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 over 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.

For governments, the BC Energy Step Code offers assurance that new buildings are performing as billed. Meanwhile, on the other side of the counter, builders have a more flexible option to comply with the energy-efficiency provisions of the provincial legislation. The new standard empowers builders to pursue innovative, creative, cost-effective solutions—and allows them to incorporate leading-edge technologies as they come available.

Local governments can choose to require or incentivize a given step of the BC Energy Step Code in new construction. In addition, beyond the regulatory context, builders and developers can adopt a given step to use across all of their projects, if they wish.

The diagrams below show what the performance improvements look like for simple buildings (those covered under Part 9 of the BC Building Code) and more complex buildings (covered by Part 3 of the code). The first diagram outlines five steps from the current BC Building Code requirements to net-zero energy ready requirements for Part 9 residential buildings. As shown in the second diagram, the same progression for  Part 3, wood-frame residential buildings is four steps.

Pathway to 2023 : Part9 (Home)

BC Step Code - BC Energy Audit

Benefits and trade-offs

The BC Energy Step Code will reduce the amount of energy required by new buildings. It will also offer a range of side benefits to occupants, the environment, and the economy. However, such benefits  come with a number of trade-offs.

This is particularly true when it comes to meeting the more rigorous performance requirements of the Upper Steps. Briefly, trade-offs of projects built to the Upper Steps include:

Increased construction costs (for more on this, review our FAQ).

Local government staff and builders will need to be trained on new practices.

While it is possible to build beautiful homes and high-rise buildings to meet the Upper Steps, designers must pay special attention to the amount and location of window glazing and the design of balconies, to mitigate heat loss as much as possible. The added costs associated with implementing these changes may, in practice, result in fewer balconies or less glazing in some buildings.

Cost and training impacts will be more pronounced outside British Columbia’s Lower Mainland and Southern Vancouver Island regions.

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