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Energy Step Code incentivizes builders to exceed energy-efficiency requirements

Don Horne   


Many of British Columbia’s cities and towns are incentivizing and/or requiring higher levels of energy efficiency in new construction through the BC Energy Step Code, a provincial regulation that allows them to require builders to exceed the code’s minimum legal energy-efficiency requirements.

In doing so, they’re helping drive a $3.3 billion new market for high-efficiency building products, according to a recent Vancouver Economic Commission study.

“We’re seeing a real surge in exceptionally energy-efficient buildings and stable, well-paying jobs for people to manufacture, install, and service the materials and components that go into them,” said Luke Dolan, owner of Capital Home Energy and the B.C. director of the Canadian Association of Consulting Energy Advisors.

Energy advisors work with builders to ensure their projects cost-effectively meet the requirements of the BC Energy Step Code.


“As more B.C. communities start requiring higher levels of energy efficiency in new construction, we’re expecting to see many more energy advisors, and other positions for people who have the skills to manufacture or install building products and technologies or are willing to learn them,” Dolan added.

The policy is expected to help create 925 manufacturing jobs throughout B.C., and 770 ongoing installation jobs, according to the study.

“With the BC Energy Step Code, British Columbia has set a new national bar for action on new-building energy efficiency,” said Corey Diamond, executive director of Efficiency Canada. “The province has proven out an innovative new model for transforming communities for a low-carbon future, and other provinces and territories can confidently follow in its footsteps.”

The BC Energy Step Code is seeing remarkable uptake and support from industry, utilities, and all levels of government. The 24 communities that have to date adopted the regulation collectively represent more than 70 percent of new residential construction activity in the province.

The province has set a goal that all new buildings must reach an exceptionally high level of energy efficiency performance by 2032.


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