Canadian Consulting Engineer

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B.C.’s Step Code helps drive $3.3-billion energy-efficiency market


Luke Dolan

Photo courtesy Efficiency Canada.

A recent Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) study suggests communities across British Columbia that are using the new BC Energy Step Code—which allows them to require builders to exceed minimum legal requirements for energy efficiency—are helping drive a $3.3-billion market for high-efficiency construction products.

Many of the province’s fastest-growing cities and towns are incentivizing and/or requiring higher levels of efficiency in new construction, according to Efficiency Canada, which in turn is yielding more durable and comfortable buildings, along with an increase in new investment and employment.

Specifically, the VEC study says the policy is expected to help create 925 manufacturing jobs and 770 ongoing installation jobs throughout the province.

“We’re seeing a real surge in exceptionally energy-efficient buildings,” says Luke Dolan (pictured), owner of Capital Home Energy and the provincial director of the Canadian Association of Consulting Energy Advisors (CACEA), which is working with builders to ensure projects can meet the new code’s requirements cost-effectively. “As more communities start requiring higher efficiency in new construction, we’re expecting to see many more energy advisors, among other positions.”

The code reflects a provincial goal for all new buildings to achieve very high levels of efficiency performance by 2032. To date, 24 communities have adopted the regulation, collectively representing more than 70% of all residential construction activity in the province.

“With the code, British Columbia has set a new national bar for action on buildings’ energy efficiency,” says Corey Diamond, executive director of Efficiency Canada. “Other provinces and territories can confidently follow in its footsteps.”