Regional and local governments will eventually be required by the province to follow the BC Energy Step Code, which aims to reduce greenhouse gases from buildings. Some governments, now including the RDCK, have decided to phase it in voluntarily ahead of provincial deadlines. File photo

Regional and local governments will eventually be required by the province to follow the BC Energy Step Code, which aims to reduce greenhouse gases from buildings. Some governments, now including the RDCK, have decided to phase it in voluntarily ahead of provincial deadlines. File photo

VIDEO: RDCK adopts Step 1 of provincial home energy efficiency plan

New buildings must comply with first level of the BC Energy Step Code

The Regional District of Central Kootenay voted at its Nov. 19 meeting to adopt Step 1 of the BC Energy Step Code as of Dec. 31.

This means that for all new residential buildings the builder must hire a certified energy advisor to confirm the design meets the energy requirements of the current building code. Without that certification a building permit will not be issued.

The BC Energy Step Code is a series of five steps, each with increasingly advanced energy saving standards.

Step 1 means the status quo, with certification by an energy advisor, as described above.

Step 2 means increasing energy efficiency above the status quo by 10 per cent, Step 3 by 20 per cent, and Step 4 by 40 per cent. The fifth step is a net-zero building that produces as much energy as it uses.

Standards in the code are measured by how much energy is being lost from the building envelope, not on the source of heat or the building materials used.

The province will require that all new residential buildings be built to Step 3 by 2022 and Step 5 by 2032, but for the time being the province has made it voluntary for local governments to adopt the Step Code according to their own schedules leading up to those dates.

Some, including the City of Nelson, have incorporated it into their building bylaws, and with the Nov. 19 decision the RDCK has done the same.

In September, Nelson council voted to incorporate Step 3 into its building bylaw on Dec. 30, partly on the grounds that most builders in the city were already building to that level voluntarily.

Six members of the RDCK board voted against adopting the Step Code.

In an email to the Nelson Star, RDCK board chair Aimee Watson said the objections included a perceived shortage of energy advisors, the limited availability of materials for energy efficient technologies, a rural building sector that is not up to speed on the Step Code, and a potentially increased building cost due to the Step Code.

Some board members thought priority should go to retrofitting existing aging housing instead, expanding the existing Regional Energy Efficiency Program (REEP).

On the other hand, some members thought that adopting the Step Code early would create a greater supply of energy advisors and would build capacity because of demand.

No one took issue with the merits of the Step Code but noted that capacity differed across the region, Watson wrote.

In a presentation to the board in favour of adopting Step 1, RDCK planner Paul Faulkner said that not adopting Step 1 in December 2020 “will inhibit the ability of builders and building officials to suitably prepare for the jump to Step 3 in 2022. This lack of preparedness may increase the likelihood of failure to achieve compliance to Step 3 for builders unfamiliar with the requirements, processes, and techniques to achieve Step 3.”

He argued that this would result in increased costs to residents in the long run.

In a presentation to the board in October, energy inspector Gerry Sawkins and Nelson architect Lukas Armstrong provided statistics to show that the cost of building to the Step Code adds about $7,000 to the cost of a new building, an amount that will be recouped in seven years because of energy cost savings.



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Related:

• RDCK board encouraged to ‘STEP’ forward with building code

Nelson council increases energy efficiency requirements for new homes

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pioneer Arena is closing for the season. Photo: John Boivin
Castlegar’s Pioneer Arena and Nelson Civic Centre closing for season

RDCK is closing the ice at two of its arenas due to financial concerns related to COVID-19

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

RCMP responded to a report early Friday morning of a suspect firing a gun at a Salmo home. Photo: Black Press
RCMP arrest woman who fired shots at Salmo home

The woman allegedly discharged a firearm early Friday morning

Summit Ski Hill had a delayed start to the season because of warm temperatures. Photo: Summit Ski Hill
Late season start frustrating for Nakusp ski hill

Summit Ski Hill only just opened Jan. 14

Four friends were heading to their home on Highway 6 just south of Silverton on the evening of Dec. 25, 2020, when the people in the front of the vehicle saw what looked like a “huge, man-like figure” on the side of the road. (Pixabay.com)
Possible Bigfoot sighting shocks, excites Silverton residents

‘I didn’t see the creature myself, I saw the prints’

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Most Read