The BC govt has launched a consultation on increasing the energy efficiency of buildings until August 24. The link is at

VRBA has strongly advocated for some of the initiatives such as financial incentives for retrofits and additional training. Clearly VRBA’s voice has had an impact by outlining the flaws of the Energy Step Code.   

As we have said, most GHG gains are made via retrofits to older homes – the vast majority of stock – not by boosting energy efficiency in new homes beyond what is affordable.

Other new consultation initiatives appear to be considering a province-wide approach. eg new homes would have to be 20% more energy efficient by 2022 and 40% more energy efficient by 2027.

However, energy efficiency/code initiatives should dovetail with the National Building Code and be first justified by cost/benefit analysis in the real world of construction – not done for the Step Code. Access to broad-based training is also critical – not done for the Step Code.

The BC govt’s Energy Step Code enables 160 municipalities to cherry-pick their own code standard and therefore undermines BC’s code standard, consumer protection and affordability. Read

In addition, because the Step Code is voluntary for municipalities, it increases municipal liability, which is perhaps why only 11 out of 160 municipalities have introduced bylaws/policies that reference the Step Code. Unfortunately 3 of those municipalities opted for Tier 3 without knowing they are high risk for radon. There is no venting required in their municipalities, setting the stage for classic unintended consequences.

Langford has opted to await National Building Code diligence on raising energy efficiency and these national deliberations are presently underway. A prescriptive option is expected which is not available in the Step Code.

VRBA Builders Council will discuss the BC govt’s new building consultation at our Wed August  15 meeting.