What is the Step Code for British Columbia?

The new “Step Code” which has already been implemented in a number of municipalities across BC, is the new “energy efficiency” buildings must meet (per zone or location). The overall gradual mandate is to get all new built homes to the goal of “net zero energy ready” by 2032.

How does it work?

The BC Energy Step Code takes a new, performance-based approach to building. The BC Energy Step Code does not specify how to construct a building, but identifies an energy-efficiency target that must be met and lets the designer/builder decide how to meet it, with assistance from an energy advisor if necessary.

What are the reasons for new Energy Step Code and will it Cost me more to build my home?

Studies have shown that high-performance homes are more comfortable and healthier because of how effectively they manage temperature and fresh air throughout the home. Energy efficiency will make homes less costly to operate so in the long run “step-code” homes should provide owners with considerable energy savings.
Yes, unfortunately, in the initial stages there will be an increase in costs to meet the new code requirements. The cost of design and building will go up depending on which level of the step code (split into various levels from 1-5) you’re your community building department has adopted. Click on the link to see which local governments have already implemented the step code and how that implementation may affect your home build https://energystepcode.ca/implementation_updates/

This sounds confusing

Yes the STEP Code can be quite confusing due to testing procedures, new calculations for energy efficiency, and how it affects design and building costs. Seeking the advice of professionals to make recommendations at the design stage is always a good idea. Tamlin’s design and project management team are great resources if you have any questions about this.

The STEP code website is a great resource and we will be writing more about the step code in future newsletters!

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