Pathway To Net Zero Energy Ready By 2032

BC Energy Step Code

A compliance path for meeting energy efficiency performance requirements of the BC Building Code

Video by the Real Estate Foundation of BC.

Introducing the BC Energy Step Code


What is the BC Energy Step Code?

The BC Energy Step Code is a provincial standard designed to assist both municipality's and industry stakeholders incrementally over time “step up” the performance of their buildings to the net-zero energy ready level that must be achieved by 2032. It’s a series of five steps, each representing a higher level of energy efficiency. The higher the "step" the more efficient the homes will be.

As per the province’s CleanBC action plan, implemented on December 2018, future iterations of our BC Building Code will require Energy Step Code compliance through a step by step path. Being compared to current base Building Code, new homes will be required to be: 

  • 20% more energy efficient by 2022 (Step 3)
  • 40% more energy efficient by 2027 (Step 4)
  • 80% more energy efficient by 2032 (Step 5, Net-zero energy ready)

The Step Code plays an integral part of improving the consistency of building regulations in BC and providing a single standard for industry and build capacity over time. The frame work will allow local municipalities to play a leadership role in improving energy efficiency in their community to meet provincial efficiency requirements. 

How the BC Energy Step Code Works

The BC Energy Step Code marks an end to the prescriptive approach and shifts the industry towards a performance based approach. To date, the vast majority of buildings in BC have demonstrated compliance through a “prescriptive” approach. This results in buildings meeting specific requirements for insulation, windows, furnaces, water heaters, lighting, and other equipment and systems which many builders are familiar with. This approach focuses on individual elements, rather than ensuring the building functions well as a system. The result can be a building that meets prescriptive minimum requirements but does not perform as well as intended. 

The performance approach establishes a desired outcome, and leaves it to the design and building team to decide how to achieve the desired performance outcome. Whole-building energy modelling and on-site testing are required to demonstrate how the design, and how the constructed building, meet the requirements in the code, but there are no requirements regarding what materials or construction methods need to be used. This empowers builders to pursue innovative, creative, cost-effective solutions, and allows them to incorporate leading-edge technologies as they come available.

We are energy efficiency experts that will assist your project through the building process in meeting the desired steps of the BC Energy Step Code.



Current Local Okanagan Municipalities

City of Kelowna

Kelowna’s BC Energy Step Code Implementation Strategy for Part 9 residential buildings (link) was endorsed by Council on May 6th, 2019:

  • December 1, 2019: Step 1 implementation – Part 9 residential buildings must be designed and constructed to meet or exceed Step 1 performance requirements
  • June 1, 2021: Step 3 implementation – Part 9 residential buildings must be designed and constructed to meet or exceed Step 3 performance requirements

City of Penticton

The City of Penticton has implemented Step 1 on March 15, 2019 for all Part 9 residential buildings as regulated within City of Penticton Building Bylaw No. 2018-01 Part 26 (link).

  • Step 1 of the Step Code as of March 15, 2019
  • Step 3 of the Step Code as of March 15, 2020 

District of Lake Country

District of Lake Country  adopted a new Building Regulation Bylaw effective March 5, 2019 (link) and has implemented Step 1 of the BC Energy Step Code for all Part 9 buildings effective April 1, 2019.

  • Step 1 of the Step Code as of April 1, 2019
  • Step 3 of the Step Code as of October 1, 2020

Other Municipalities 

Refer to the page to review the rest of the local governments who are developing their implementation plans or referencing the BC Energy Step Code.

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