B.C. takes efficiency 20% higher
By Adam FreillConstruction Green Construction
Changes to the provincial building code aim to push efficiency as B.C. takes next step toward zero-carbon targets.
Recent changes to B.C.’s building code are aimed at ensuring more efficient buildings are built in line with the province’s commitment to zero-carbon new construction by 2030.
As of May 1, the B.C. Building Code now requires 20 per cent higher energy efficiency for most new buildings throughout the province, with the Zero Carbon Step Code providing additional tools for local governments to encourage or require lower emissions in new buildings.
“New energy-efficiency regulations are a key measure to help British Columbia meet our CleanBC 2030 goals,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “We are building a future with better, healthier communities for families, while taking action on climate change. Our government is dedicated to ensuring that everyone in B.C., now and in the future, has access to a healthy environment.”
The changes will help the province meet commitments in the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 that aim to gradually lower emissions from buildings until all new buildings are zero carbon by 2030 and net-zero energy ready by 2032.
“Working together with industry, B.C. can meet our housing needs and our climate goals,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “These measures are essential changes to the B.C. Building Code that will help us meet our CleanBC commitments to make new buildings cleaner and more energy efficient.”
The higher energy-efficiency requirements are a progression of the BC Energy Step Code, which was introduced in 2017 for local governments to use to encourage or require energy efficiency that goes beyond the requirements of the B.C. Building Code.
The B.C. Energy Step Code is a mandatory energy-efficiency requirement in the B.C. Building Code for most new buildings. The Zero Carbon Step Code is a voluntary, provincial standard for reducing emissions in new buildings. While the B.C. Energy Step Code is aimed at enhancing energy efficiency in new construction, the Zero Carbon Step Code focuses on emissions reductions from new construction.
The province says it is now co-ordinating templates and best practices to facilitate these building code changes for local governments and the construction industry. Local governments can still encourage or require a level of energy efficiency in new construction that goes above and beyond the minimum energy-efficiency step required in the building code.