The City of Maple Ridge collaborated with Fernwood Developments to support the construction of a local home to Step 3 of the BC Energy Step Code. The goals of the project were to:
Familiarize builders and the City with working with an Energy Advisor for energy modelling and air tightness testing
Document the construction process through photos, videos and interviews
Track incremental costs of a real Step 3 home in Maple Ridge
Provide opportunities for on-site peer learning
What is the BC Energy Step Code
The BC Energy Step Code is a performance standard embedded in the BC Building Code that is designed to drive steady increases in energy efficiency in new construction. Local governments can choose to use it to incentivize or require a level of energy efficiency in new construction that exceed the minimum requirements specified in the BC Building Code.
The Energy Step Code marks a shift from prescriptive energy efficiency requirements to a performance standard. The Step Code has a tiered set of performance metrics that measure the building’s heating needs, mechanical system efficiency and airtightness. In order to comply with the Energy Step Code, builders work with an Energy Advisor to model the design of the home and test the airtightness once it’s built.
For Part 9 residential buildings, including single family homes, row houses and low rise multi-unit buildings, the Energy Step Code has five steps.
New Energy Performance Requirements are Coming
The Province of BC has set new timelines and requirements for increased building energy-efficiency performance in the BC Building Code. The CleanBC strategy, released at the end of 2018 reaffirmed the target that by 2032, all new buildings will be built “net zero energy ready”, or 80% more efficient than new buildings today. The building code will move towards this target starting in 2022, when new homes will need to perform 20% better than current code requirements, and again in 2027 when they will be 40% more energy efficient.
The Energy Step Code is BC’s roadmap to meeting these future performance requirements. The building industry and local governments can prepare for future code changes because we know what’s coming and when.
The Energy Step Code in Maple Ridge
Local governments can choose to require certain steps of the Energy Step Code in advance of when they will be required by the Building Code. Many BC municipalities are already requiring up to Step 3 for Part 9 buildings city-wide. Before determining if, and how, to adopt the Step Code in Maple Ridge, the City decided to support local builders with training opportunities and a demonstration project. With funding support from BC Hydro, the City launched “Building Better with the Energy Step Code” a builder and staff capacity building project. The project included a builder workshop in early 2018, energy modelling training for building department staff, and collaboration with a local builder and Energy Advisor to build and document the construction of a Step 3 home.