The Hon. Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources for Canada replied in a letter to VRBA’s concerns regarding BC fast-tracking housing energy efficiency via the Step Code.
Carr says, “As part of a plan to make buildings more efficient, Natural Resources Canada and the National Research Council will support the work of the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes to develop a new net-zero energy model code by 2022 for adoption by provinces and territories by 2030.”
Carr does not say he supports BC’s Step Code.
He says, “The (national) code development process is collaborative, consensus-based and includes public consultations. Development of model energy codes for buildings will consider cost effectiveness and affordability and benefit from evidence-based research. Analysis on the potential cost implications for homeowners is underway. The results of this analysis will be made available as part of the public consultations taking place during the code development process.”
In other words, cost implications for homeowners will be available during a public consultation, which was not done for BC’s Step Code for new housing.
There is a signed agreement to harmonize BC’s code with the National Code, which was violated by the Step Code.
BC’s govt has leaped ahead under the pretext tighter homes are required prior to the 2022 goal set by the National Code.
By deviating from the National Code process, BC has put homeowners at risk and added significant cost for negligible benefit. Most energy loss is from decades-old homes, not new homes.
By enabling 160 municipalities to set their own energy efficiency level, BC undermines its own building standard.
BC municipalities should disregard the Step Code and wait for the National Building Code to do its diligence, affordability study, and public consultation.