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B.C. Government launches efficient building incentive program/competition, administered by Integral Group

The province’s new Better Buildings BC program is challenging designers, builders and developers with up to $390,000 in incentives to design cost-effective net-zero energy ready buildings.


“Every new building and renovation is an opportunity to save energy and reduce costs for British Columbians,” said Michelle Mungall, B.C.’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, in a release last week that included the announcement of a design competition with up to $390,000 available for the most cost-effective demonstration of net-zero energy-ready buildings.

Mungall issued the challenge as part of the provincial government’s new Better Buildings BC program. “Our government is challenging designers, builders and developers to get creative and show us their innovative ideas.”

The Integral Group is administering the Better Buildings BC program, while the BC Ministry of Mines, Energy and Petroleum Resources is providing funding and program oversight.  Better Buildings BC is funded through the Innovative Clean Energy Fund for $1 million and Forestry Innovation Investment for $200,000, for a total provincial contribution of $1.2 million.

Better Buildings BC is an incentive program and juried competition that provides incentives and support to high-rise residential, office, retail, commercial, institutional, and other large complex building projects designed to meet a net-zero energy-ready level of performance.

The program offers two incentives. Design Incentives of up to $40,000 to assist design teams in offsetting any costs that may be incurred by any additional design necessary to target net-zero energy-ready. Participants who receive a Design Incentive will be invited to submit a full Program Application and will be eligible to receive a Net-Zero Energy-Ready Incentive of up to $350,000.

To be eligible for the the competition, a project must meet the following criteria:

  • The project is located in the province of British Columbia;
  • The project is a new Part 3 construction project or a major building renovation of a Part 3 building (Part 3 categorizes large and complex buildings—four storeys and taller and greater than 600 square metres in building area);
  • An application (e.g. Rezoning, Development Permit) has been submitted to a municipality, and/or the project owner, or an affiliate of the project owner, has secured title to the lands for the project in question or has entered into a binding agreement for the purchase of the lands for the project in question;
  • The project has not yet received a Building Permit.

Designers, builders, and developers can apply for program funding by visiting: www.efficiencybc.ca/betterbuildings

Applicants must submit an expression of interest by Nov. 30, 2018. The winning projects will be announced in spring 2019.

In September 2018, the Province announced the new EfficiencyBC program, which will dedicate $24 million to helping people save energy and reduce their environmental footprint. Better Buildings BC is part of a broader government effort to support projects. The Province has set a goal that all new buildings in B.C. must be net-zero energy-ready by 2032. In partnership with industry, utilities and local government stakeholders, the Province developed the BC Energy Step Code as a pathway to reach that goal.