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Step Code Out-of-Step with Public

A recent national housing survey showed Canadians rank affordability as the #1 priority.

This was true for British Columbians as well, which is not surprising, considering our home prices are $200,000 above the national average.

The survey also revealed their last priority is “green housing” coinciding with our view that new homes are already very energy efficient.

VRBA’s Built Green contractors are building new energy efficient homes in the West Shore that are affordable for the average family income.

However, the BC govt plans to introduce a new energy Step Code that will marginally increase efficiency in these new homes at an additional cost of $55,000 to 110,000 for Tier 5 homes, not including mortgage interest.

The regulations will reduce a new home’s air changes from 3 to 1 per hour, while older homes’ air changes continue at as much as 40 hour or more – a far greater contributor to GHG’s.

The BC govt’s proposed Step Code is a classic case of diminishing returns, offering little impact on GHG’s, and only serving to eliminate families from the housing market.

Real climate leadership would be a Renovation Tax Credit reducing air changes from 40 to 3.5 in BC’s older housing stock.

The province should be listening to British Columbians and pursue affordability, rather than a Step Code offering very expensive efficiency designed to score “green” points.

The Step Code policy is clearly out-of-step with the public’s wishes.

We will achieve very efficient Net Zero homes in the future, supported first by affordability, education, and proven practice.

Today, affordable, reasonably energy efficient homes are what the public needs and expects.

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8 responses to "Step Code Out-of-Step with Public"

  1. Don Gunn Jan 25, 2017 at 18:15

    This will affect every home owner who has insurance on a home.


    • VRBA Jan 26, 2017 at 09:41

      Good observation. Govt rarely considers all of the implications and costs. The upper tiers of the Step Code will add significantly greater costs to new homes than the HST, which was a key factor in our inability to recover from the 2009 global housing crash until 2015.


  2. VRBA Jan 26, 2017 at 15:27

    A homeowner’s insurance on a 1960 home may have to accommodate construction of a very costly passive or net zero replacement home required by the municipality.


  3. Ericka Amador Mar 06, 2017 at 16:57

    Is there somewhere I can access financial information for the Step Code? You mention home cost will increase by $40 to $100k, where can I find that information?


    • VRBA Mar 07, 2017 at 09:55

      The estimates come from builders of energy efficient homes. The reason there is little financial information available is because the govt hasn’t done a cost/benefit analysis for this new regulation in Canada’s most expensive province for housing. A cost/benefit is required for major changes to the National Building Code, however BC has circumvented this process.


  4. Ken Breuker Mar 22, 2017 at 21:36

    Again, this government fails to listen to the real people with knowledge and experience in this important market, it will undoubtedly kill the building industry, no doubt, or at least subdue the new housing market, as soon as the government gets involved without listening to the experience people involved in this industry negative implications are soon to follow, classic.


  5. Don Duvall Apr 10, 2017 at 07:27

    What is the actual Step Code.


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