Energy Step Code

SUBSCRIBE FOR UPDATES ON ENERGY STEP CODE IN THE OKANAGAN

*Highlights*

  • Effective August 3, 2022 the City of Kelowna requires Energy Advisors to use Heating Degree Days (HDD) equal to 3400 in the BC Energy Step Code BC Compliance Report Calculator and Report Generator.  This applies to all new building permit submissions.
  • For a limited time, the City is offering a $325 building permit rebate for Part 9 buildings (maximum 3 per builder) for those builders who complete a mid-construction airtightness test.  

The Energy Step Code is a provincial policy that aims to create healthier, more efficient and more comfortable buildings. The Energy Step Code marks an end to the prescriptive approach to achieving energy efficiency in newly constructed buildings. Instead, a building's performance must be proven through whole building energy modeling and on-site airtightness testing. Modeling and testing validates how the design and constructed building meet performance targets associated with each "step." 

Energy Step Code requires builders to use an Energy Advisor or Modeler to review plans, model energy consumption, conduct airtightness testing (i.e. a blower door test), and to verify the building complies with the energy performance of a given step.

Kelowna Step Code Requirements

Part 9 Residential Building Requirements

As outlined in the Energy Step Code Implementation Strategy for Part 9 Residential Buildings, effective June 1, 2021 Part 9 residential buildings must be designed and constructed in compliance with Step 3 of the Energy Step Code.

For a limited time, the City is offering a $325 building permit rebate (maximum 3 per builder for those builders who complete a mid-construction airtightness test. This test allows buildings to correct any air barrier deficiencies before final construction. Check out the "Rebates for New Construction" section to learn about other exciting offers from FortisBC when you build to Step 3 and beyond.

The ENERGY STEP CODE REQUIREMENTS FOR PART 9 RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS bulletin outlines the submission requirements for building permit applications for Part 9 residential buildings. 

The Pre-Build Compliance Report (submitted prior to issuance of Building Permit) and the As-Built Compliance Report (submitted prior to issuance of Occupancy Permit) can be accessed at the provincial Energy Step Code Compliance Tools for Part 9 buildings website.  Energy advisors are expected to use the most recent version of the compliance reports.

Part 3 Building Requirements

Energy Step Code for Part 3 buildings came into effect January 1, 2022.  Part 3 building permit applications will need to demonstrate compliance with the following Energy Step Code requirements, depending on the building archetype, as outlined in the Energy Step Code Implementation Strategy for Part 3 Buildings:

  • Group C - single detached residential occupancy: Step 4
  • Group C - multi-unit residential occupancy of combustible construction (including hotels and motels): Step 3
  • Group C - multi-unit residential occupancy of non-combustible construction: Step 2
  • Group D - business and personal service occupancy: Step 2
  • Group E - mercantile occupancy: Step 2

See the ENERGY STEP CODE REQUIREMENTS FOR PART 3 BUILDINGS bulletin for details on submission requirements.

Rebates for new construction

For Part 9 residential buildings, the following building permit rebate is available for a limited time (maximum of three per incentive per builder):

  • $325 for mid-construction airtightness testing

FortisBC offers rebates at each step for Part 9 residential buildings. These rebates range depending on the Step achieved.  Additional rebates are available for appliances and high-efficiency water heaters. Visit Better Homes BC for more information and eligibility requirements.

For Part 3 construction, FortisBC offers rebates up to $500,000. Visit the Commercial New Construction Performance Incentives website for details.

Finding an energy advisor

Energy Advisors are third-party consultants who have been registered by service organizations licensed by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to deliver NRCan’s EnerGuide Rating System (ERS), ENERGY STAR® for New Homes and R-2000 programs. An Energy Advisor can provide both energy modeling and airtightness testing: the two compliance services needed to demonstrate compliance under the Energy Step Code for Part 9 buildings.

For a list of registered Energy Advisors that service the Kelowna area, visit Better Homes BC .

Resources for builders

There are a variety of resources available to help the Kelowna building industry build to the different steps of the Energy Step Code

  • Provincial Energy Step Code resources
    Energystepcode.ca provides a variety of resources, including training videos, builder guides, and links to upcoming training sessions that are being hosted throughout the Province.
  • BC housing builder and design guides
    BC Housing has authored a number of builder and design guides to help the building industry to build to the Step Code.
Upcoming events

The following training sessions related to the Energy Step Code are being offered:

  • September 15 (Coast Capri Hotel, 2 CPDs)
    CHBA-CO Builders Breakfast: Building Enclosures and Heat Pumps
    This Builders Breakfast will discuss how to make smart building enclosure design and construction decisions with increasing Energy Step Code targets and consideration for future climate resilience.  Further the latest research on cold climate heat pumps will be discussed.
  • September 29 (Coast Capri Hotel, Kelowna, 8 CPDs)
    CHBA-CO High Performance Building Envelope Practices Workshop
    A "high performance" building envelope encompasses many performance aspects including energy efficiency, thermal comfort, indoor air quality and durability.  This workshop will feature a classroom presentation and hands-on component to cover energy efficiency and how to integrate a holistic design approach that supports high performance outcomes.
  • October 13 (Coast Capri Hotel, Kelowna, 4 CPDs)
    CHBA-CO Builders Breakfast: High Performance ICF Building Construction Basics
    This half day workshop features hands-on technical training for construction of high-performance, resilient residential and commercial ICF/concrete structures.  Basics of ICF concrete wall construction are addressed first.  Next, a popular floor/roof system will be connected to the wall structure, featuring typical wall-to-floor connections.  Special focus will be on code compliance to current BC minimum codes as well as Energy Step Code.