New Builds

What is the BC Energy Step Code?

The BC Energy Step Code is British Columbia’s roadmap to meeting the new performance requirements.

The provincial regulation rolls together a variety of energy efficiency metrics and ranks them on a virtual staircase. The metrics vary by region, and measure a building’s airtightness, heating needs, and mechanical system efficiency. The BC Energy Step Code puts you in the driver’s seat. Rather than telling you what to do on energy as the BC Building Code now does, it sets targets and leaves it up to you to determine the most cost-effective way to meet them.

What does the process of engaging an Energy Advisor look like?

Energy Advisors (EAs) are specialists in rating home energy efficiency, and they provide guidance to homeowners who are interested in improving their home’s efficiency. ​

EAs are registered by National Resources Canada (NRCan) to deliver EnerGuide Rating Systems (ERS) for new or existing homes. We work similar to any other consultant on the project; our job is to confirm that we are meeting the regulatory requirements related to our discipline.

The Energy advisor works closely with the builder, the architect or designer and the homeowner to optimize the energy performance of the proposed home’s design.

Once a design and proposed assemblies have been developed, the energy advisor will model the home and ensure compliance with the applicable municipalities BC Energy Step Code requirements. If the home does not initially meet the requirements, the Energy Advisor will propose modifications such as improving the insulation in the roof and walls or at the foundation or recommend better performing windows. The intent is not to modify the design of the home, but occasionally, there may need to be small compensations to achieve the required energy performance. The Energy Advisor will also assess the proposed mechanical systems to ensure heating, cooling, hot water and ventilation systems are up to performance requirements. We make recommendations using the house-as-a-system concept to ensure that the proposed systems and assemblies work together to create a comfortable and energy efficient home.

Once the desired Step Code level has been achieved in the design, the Energy Advisor will provide the building permit applicant with all the necessary documentation to support the application.

At mid construction, we perform a blower door test on the building to determine if it is meeting the air tightness threshold. If not, we can work with the builder on site to determine areas in the building envelope that need to be sealed better.

After your home is complete, we perform a post construction assessment and submit the required documentation to the builder when applying for occupancy.

The most environmentally friendly & cost effective energy source is the energy you don’t use. Let us help you decrease your home’s impact while saving you money.