Energy Step Code

A building permit application for new construction must demonstrate compliance with the BC Energy Step Code, a provincial standard that provides an incremental and consistent approach to achieving more energy-efficient buildings.

Summary of requirements

This table provides a summary of the requirements. For a more in-depth look at the requirements, review our July 10, 2023 staff report to Council

Building type Description Requirement as of July 1, 2021 Requirement starting Nov 1, 2023
Part 9 residential Single family home, coach house, smaller townhouse Step 5 OR
Step 3 with a low carbon energy system*
Step 5 OR 
Step 4 and Emissions Level 3** 
Part 3 residential  Larger multi-family and apartment projects Step 4 OR
Step 3 with a low carbon energy system*
Step 4 OR 
Step 3 and Emissions Level 3** 
Part 3 commercial Larger commercial, office, and retail buildings Step 3 OR
Step 2 with a low carbon energy system*
Step 3 OR 
Step 2 and Emissions Level 3** 
Public sector buildings Schools, libraries, colleges, recreation centres, hospitals, and care centres Step 1 Step 2

* A low carbon energy system (LCES) is one that uses primarily low carbon energy sources to provide heating, cooling, and hot water for a building, and has a total modelled greenhouse gas intensity of no more than 3kg CO2e/m2/yr 

**See details of the emission levels on the BC Energy Step Code website, and the convenience copy of the BC Building Code update .

Incentives for Builders

All single family, duplex, and townhouse homes built to the District’s Step Code requirements qualify for minimum rebates of $5,000 to $10,000 per home under the Province’s  CleanBC Better Homes New Construction Program, with additional rebates of $4,000 for new homes with no fossil fuel connection. Get more information and to apply.

Training Opportunities

Opportunities are listed on the BC Step Code Events Calendar.

Information for applicants in the District

Download the Step Code information guide for applicants

Required forms

Forms for Part 9 residential buildings

Forms for Part 3 residential and commercial buildings

  • Design verification report
  • Part 3 energy design reports
  • Energy benchmarking - To better understand the energy performance of buildings in the community, we require applicants to create an Energy Star Portfolio Manager profile of the proposed building(s) and share the property profile with the District prior to occupancy.

For more information on our benchmarking and labeling requirements, download the Step Code information guide for applicants.

More about the BC Energy Step Code

The BC Energy Step Code takes a new, performance-based approach rather than the traditional prescriptive approach.

The BC Energy Step Code does not specify how to construct a building, but identifies a building energy-efficiency target that must be met, and lets the designer/builder, working with an energy advisor, decide how to meet it

How to comply

To comply with the BC Energy Step Code, builders must use energy modelling software and on-site testing to demonstrate that both their design and the constructed building meet the requirements of the BC Energy Step Code.

The new standard empowers builders to pursue innovative, creative, cost-effective solutions, and allows them to incorporate leading-edge technologies as they come available.

Get complete details from the Province of BC

Find helpful industry resources from the Province's Building and Safety Standards Branch

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We're taking action in six key areas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect and enhance ecosystem health and biodiversity, and improve our resilience to climate change.

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