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Report Reveals Unintended Consequences in BC Step Code: Higher Costs In Some Municipalties

At a National Building Code meeting last week, a presentation by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) revealed the BC Step Code metrics and targets result in higher costs to build in some municipalities over others despite having similar climates. This has been covered in Canadian Contractor Magazine. 

The NRCan report says “Near the boundaries of climate zones, the absolute energy metrics used in the BC Step Code and the performance tiers PCF (and the BC Step code) will require homes in the warmer climate zone to be better insulated (and more costly to build) than identical homes in the adjacent, colder climate zone. This is because the locations will have similar weather conditions, but are afforded significantly different energy budgets.”

In other words BC’s Step Code established different energy goal posts for each region. So new homebuyers in Climate Zone 4 (Victoria and Vancouver regions), where housing is more expensive, may be paying more to achieve a lower Tier than those in Climate Zone 5 (Nanaimo region).

For example, a Step Code Tier 2 home in Saanich may be more expensive to build than a Tier 3 home in Nanaimo with “similar weather conditions.” Saanich plans to leap into Tier 3 Jan 1, 2020 adding significantly more costs.

This is an example of unintended consequences from fast-tracking energy efficiency and why BC should have waited for the National Building Code’s energy efficiency review presently underway.

The BC Step Code is adopted by municipal councils, which were advised by VRBA to avoid the Step Code and instead harmonize with the National Building Code. Langford saved their residents the added costs by disregarding BC’s Step Code, supporting Built Green and waiting for National Code diligence.  http://www.vrba.ca/langford-housing-leadership-continues/

According to the BC government’s website, https://energystepcode.ca/implementation_updates/ :

“These local governments have submitted their initial notification, indicating they have started to consult on the BC Energy Step Code (listed by date of submission). The symbol * means the local government now references the BC Energy Step Code in a policy, program or bylaw”

  1. City of Richmond – June 16, 2017*
  2. City of North Vancouver – July 4, 2017 *
  3. City of Campbell River – July 10, 2017 *
  4. City of Duncan – August 24, 2017
  5. District of North Vancouver – September 1, 2017 *
  6. City of Victoria – September 27, 2017*
  7. District of Saanich – September 27, 2017
  8. Comox Valley Regional District – October 3, 2017 *
  9. District of North Saanich – October 4, 2017
  10. Resort Municipality of Whistler – October 5, 2017*
  11. District of West Vancouver – October 24, 2017 *
  12. Township of Langley – November 7, 2017*
  13. District of Squamish – November 9, 2017*
  14. City of New Westminster – November 28, 2017
  15. City of Surrey – December 7, 2017*
  16. City of Kelowna – January 22, 2018
  17. City of Penticton – January 27, 2018*
  18. City of Burnaby – March 1, 2018*
  19. City of Kimberley – March 12, 2018 *
  20. City of Vernon – March 19, 2018
  21. Village of Belcarra – March 27, 2018
  22. District of Peachland – March 28, 2018
  23. District of Oak Bay – April 11, 2018
  24. City of West Kelowna – April 12, 2018
  25. District of Sparwood – April 23, 2018*
  26. District of Summerland – June 5, 2018
  27. District of Lake Country – June 7, 2018*
  28. City of Nanaimo – June 25, 2018
  29. City of Kamloops – July 17, 2018
  30. District of Central Saanich – July 17, 2018
  31. City of Port Moody – September 24, 2018
  32. City of Nelson – October 9, 2018
  33. Village of Anmore – October 22, 2018*
  34. District of Elkford – November 6, 2018
  35. City of Abbotsford – January 28, 2019
  36. City of Rossland – February 8, 2019
  37. Town of Creston – February 22, 2019
  38. Village of New Denver – February 28, 2019
  39. Bowen Island Municipality – March 4, 2019
  40. District of Lake Country – March 6, 2019
  41. Regional District of East Kootenay – March 12, 2019
  42. Village of Kaslo – March 25, 2019

 

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