BC Subcommittee Passes Motion to Inform Council the Step Code is not on Track to meet Climate Targets

The Energy Step Code Council Part 9 Subcommittee has passed a motion, drafted by Passive House Canada representative Rob Bernhardt, to inform the Step Code Council that the BC Energy Step Code is not on track to achieve the province’s stated goals for Part 9 residential buildings and that it is now out of alignment with international expectations and norms.

Prior to passing this motion, the subcommittee had received feedback from members, industry leaders and local governments expressing concern about the recent changes to the Step Code in December 2019. These changes include two new ways for Part 9 residential buildings to meet the thermal performance requirements of the Step Code, one of which is a new percent better than reference house metric for assessing envelop performance. This metric allows for significantly lower building performance and increased energy consumption compared to absolute thermal metrics. It undermines the envelope first approach of the Step Code, slows progress towards better building techniques already underway, and limits progress towards CleanBC targets.

The subcommittee motion follows calls from municipalities, such as the City of Richmond, to address these changes. Without updates to the Step Code, local governments are being limited in their efforts to reach BC’s provincially mandated climate objectives. Passive House Canada is continuing to engage on this issue and call for updates to be made.