BC Energy Step Code Requirements for the Kootenays and Okanagan
Many cities in the Kootenays and Okanagan have decided to adopt a minimum Step Code level as a requirement for all new construction.
What is the step code exactly? According to energystepcode.ca, “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 [current] requirements of the BC Building Code.”
Step Code levels have energy intensity performance requirements rather than the previous building code prescriptive requirements. This means that new buildings require a third-party energy audit to verify the home performs to the level required by the Step Code. The energy intensity requirements vary by climate and the different requirements are stratified into Climate Zones. This is because colder climates experience greater temperature differences and require more heating energy.
Ever wonder which climate zone your community falls under? Below is a list of Step Code requirements as of December 10, 2019 for communities in the Kootenays and Okanagan:
Climate Zone 5 (3000 – 3999 HDD): Balfour, Castlegar, Creston, Fruitvale, Grand Forks, Nelson, Trail, Slocan, Nakusp, New Denver, Kaslo
Climate Zone 6 (4000 – 4999 HDD): Cranbrook, Fernie, Golden, Revelstoke, Rock Creek, Rossland, Windermere
Climate Zone 5 (3000 – 3999 HDD): Kamloops, Kelowna, Keremeos, Lake Country, Lumby, Oliver, Osoyoos, Penticton, Salmon Arm, Summerland, Vernon,
Climate Zone 6 (4000 – 4999 HDD): Princeton
Step Code Requirements
The performance requirements to meet the relevant steps are outlined in the tables below for Climate Zones 5 and 6 below. Please note that each of the three requirements listed in the table must be met in order to meet the relevant step.
2018 BCBC Table 22.214.171.124.-B – Climate Zone 5 Step Code Requirements (3000-3999 HDD18) *Building Equipment and Systems also has a Mechanical Energy Use Intensity compliance pathway, as indicated in Table 126.96.36.199.-G. However, the % lower than reference house is easier to understand and not design-restrictive for the vast majority of cases in Climate Zones 5 and 6
2018 BCBC Table 188.8.131.52.-C – Climate Zone 6 Step Code Requirements (4000-4999 HDD18) *Building Equipment and Systems also has a Mechanical Energy Use Intensity compliance pathway, as indicated in Table 184.108.40.206.-G. However, the % lower than reference house is easier to understand and not design-restrictive for the vast majority of cases in Climate Zones 5 and 6
Want to Learn More?
To learn more about step code, visit: https://energystepcode.ca/
For a full list of the Dec. 10, 2019 BC Step Code requirements for all climate zones, please visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/construction-industry/building-codes-and-standards/revisions-and-mo/bcbc_2018_revision1_signed_order.pdf
Are you a builder in the Kootenays or Okanagan that needs help with BC Step Code? Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll work to meet your project objectives.