Effective May 1, all new buildings in the RDCK will have to be 20 per cent more energy efficient as changes to provincial energy step codes are imposed to provide more sustainable housing throughout the province.
According to a media release, residents in the region are currently required to meet step one of the BC energy step code established in 2018. With the revised code requirements, residences and small commercial and industrial buildings will now be required to meet step three but more complex buildings will only be required to meet step two.
The change will not affect existing (in-progress) building permits, but the release states applications received after May 1 will need to follow the new code requirements. Further changes to the codes will be implemented in 2027 and 2030 with energy efficiency doubling each time.
RDCK building manager Chris Gainham said in the media release this is just one way the district is contributing to provide a greener environment in the future.
“The performance based approach of the BC Energy Step Code is intended to provide a more flexible approach to building code compliance related to energy efficiency,” he says. “This allows the market, new materials and the ingenuity of builders and designers to, to drive, innovate and achieve higher levels of energy efficiency in their projects.”
Shari Imada, RDCK senior energy specialist, said in the release changing codes and policies has its challenges but this will help move the industry forward.
“There are definitely some hurdles including our aging house stock, rural context and the difficulties in achieving required certifications experienced by contractors,” she says. “The new mandated change will help provide the environment needed to move the whole building industry to one that is well versed in delivering high performance buildings.”
The release states many contractors have met, and exceeded expectations of step one compliance so there should be no issue with hitting their target for the next seven years.