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      Enerma Energy Solutions BC energy step code
      ENERMA Services

      Energy Modelling

      We offer building performance simulation and optimization services to ensure your building will function at maximum efficiency, reducing operating costs and contributing to environmental sustainability. We keep up to date on the ever-changing energy mandates set forth by provincial and municipal governments, while utilizing cloud-computing simulation tools and our extensive experience to help ensure success for our clients’ projects.

      Whether you need to make early energy performance decisions for a development permit application, are assessing merits of potential retrofits, or need assistance ensuring your project will meet comply with the overlapping efficiency regulations, our team will get you there.

      energy modelling enerma - Enerma Certified Energy Advisor

      Energy Modelling

      ENERMA Sustainable Solutions Ltd.

      Introduced as a voluntary standard in 2017 and now required to varying degrees by municipalities across the province, the Step Code aims at quantifying the total energy consumption of a building and targeting reduction of loads through improved envelopes and heat recovery. Our strength is in finding the most cost effective means of achieving these targets, applying holistic multi-disciplinary solutions.

      In Vancouver, nearly 60% of the carbon pollution comes from buildings. That’s why the city of Vancouver has its own Zero Emissions Building Plan to eliminate carbon pollution from new buildings before 2030. Because of this plan, new buildings produce 70% less carbon pollution than they did in 2007.  The plan has four strategies to require the majority of new buildings to have no operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, and all new buildings to have no greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

      These four strategies include:

      • Limits: establish GHG and thermal energy limits by building type and step these down over time to zero.
      • Leadership: require City-led building projects to demonstrate zero emission building approaches where viable.
      • Catalyse: develop tools to catalyse leading private builders and developers to demonstrate effective approaches to zero emission new buildings.
      • Capacity Building: build industry capacity through information sharing tools and the development of a Centre of Excellence for Zero Emissions Building to facilitate the removal of barriers, the sharing of knowledge, and the development of the skills required to successfully achieve this goal.

      These strategies for achieving zero emissions new buildings were developed specifically to ensure comfortable and healthy indoor environments, maximize local economic development, ensure long-term building resilience, protect housing affordability and to facilitate achieving the City’s Renewable City Strategy target to have all buildings in Vancouver (including those already built) use only renewable energy by the year 2050.

      Zero emissions new buildings will be achieved by incrementally lowering the permitted Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions for new construction in Vancouver`s Building Bylaw over time. This Plan establishes greenhouse gas intensity (GHGI) targets (GHG emissions per unit area per year) by building type and includes a stepped reduction timeline to reflect these targets as maximum permitted limits in Vancouver`s building policies and Building Bylaw.

      Reference City of Vancouver Zero Emission Building Plan.

      Retrofitting is simply upgrading or renovating a house so it will keep the heat in during the heating season and keep it cooler during the summer. This means adding insulation, caulking and weatherstripping, improving or replacing windows and doors, and improving the mechanical systems. Retrofitting also means including energy efficiency measures in all your renovation and repair activities. Within the context of the Canadian climate, retrofitting makes a lot of sense.

      The importance of energy retrofits can be summarized as follows:

      Energy efficiency. Retrofitting costs less than producing new energy supplies to heat a house. More than 16 percent of Canada’s annual energy goes to heat our homes, and this energy comes mostly from non-renewable resources such as oil and gas.

      Comfort and health. A well-insulated, air sealed and ventilated house makes for a comfortable home. It is also much quieter, and there is less dust and pollen to worry about.

      Durability. By retrofitting your home, you can also improve air and moisture control. As a result, your house will remain in better shape and last longer.

      Save money. Improving a home’s energy efficiency is one of the best investments you can make, paying tax-free dividends immediately in the form of lower energy bills.

      Protect the environment. Consuming less energy means fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, retrofitting uses fewer new resources than building a new house.

      A professional energy evaluation service is the best way to assess your home’s energy improvement potential. An energy advisor certified by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) evaluates your home from the attic down to the foundation, including a measurement of your insulation levels and a blower door test to determine air tightness. You will receive a personalized report, including a checklist of recommended retrofits to improve overall energy efficiency, as well as an EnerGuide rating so you can compare the energy efficiency of your home with other homes.

      Reference Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)

      As one of the most proactive cities in the country for energy efficiency regulation, Vancouver leads the way by setting aggressive targets for new buildings, especially those undergoing rezoning. Our team can help your project navigate the challenging and dynamic Vancouver energy regulations.

      BC Energy Step Code
      ENERMA Services

      Energy Modelling

      The BC Energy Step Code sets performance requirements for new construction and groups them into “steps.” All authorities having jurisdiction over the BC Building Code—including local governments—can choose to require or incentivize builders to meet one or more steps of the BC Energy Step Code as an alternative to the code’s prescriptive requirements.

      Health and Comfort

      Studies have shown that high-performance homes are more comfortable and healthier, because they effectively manage temperature and fresh air throughout the building.

      Climate Leadership

      The BC Energy Step Code puts British Columbia on a path to meet the province’s target that all new buildings must be “net-zero energy ready” by 2032.

      Jobs and Economy

      The BC Energy Step Code could open up new opportunities for B.C. in the growing global market for energy efficiency education, technology, and services.

      Less Energy, Lower Bills

      The BC Energy Step Code improves energy efficiency and lowers energy bills compared to homes and buildings with similar systems designed under the BC Building Code.

      Enerma Energy Solutions BC energy step code
      BC Energy Step Code

      Putting The Focus On Performance

      The Province of British Columbia first introduced energy efficiency as a BC Building Code objective in 2008. Ever since, designers and builders have had the option to use either “prescriptive” or “performance” approaches to comply with the code’s efficiency requirements.

      To date, the vast majority of builders in British Columbia have pursued the prescriptive approach. Following this approach, buildings must meet specific requirements for insulation, windows, furnaces, water heaters, lighting and other equipment and systems. It focuses on individual elements, rather than ensuring the building functions well as a system. The result can be a building that does not perform as well as intended.

      Builders have a second option to comply with the energy-efficiency requirements of the BC Building Code: the performance approach. The BC Energy Step Code offers a specific form of this approach.

      The performance approach establishes a desired outcome, and leaves it to the design and building team to decide how to achieve it.

      To comply with the BC Energy Step Code, builders must use energy software modelling and on-site testing to demonstrate that both their design and the constructed building meet the requirements of the standard. They may use any materials or construction methods to do so.

      This approach echoes that taken by many green-building certification programs, including Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Star for New Homes™ and R-2000™ programs, and Passive House Institute (in Darmstadt) certification, as well as the Canadian Home Building Association’s Net Zero Home™ and Net Zero Ready Home™ programs.

      The regulation sets performance targets for new construction and groups them into “steps” that apply across various building types and regions of the province. The Lower Steps are relatively straightforward to meet; the Upper Steps are more ambitious.

      All authorities having jurisdiction over the BC Building Code—including local governments—can choose to require or incentivize builders to meet one or more steps of the BC Energy Step Code as an alternative to the code’s prescriptive requirements.

      For governments, the BC Energy Step Code offers assurance that new buildings are performing as billed. Meanwhile, on the other side of the counter, builders have a more flexible option to comply with the energy-efficiency provisions of the provincial legislation. The new standard empowers builders to pursue innovative, creative, cost-effective solutions—and allows them to incorporate leading-edge technologies as they come available.

      Local governments can choose to require or incentivize a given step of the BC Energy Step Code in new construction. In addition, beyond the regulatory context, builders and developers can adopt a given step to use across all of their projects, if they wish.

      The diagrams below show what the performance improvements look like for simple buildings (those covered under Part 9 of the BC Building Code) and more complex buildings (covered by Part 3 of the code). The first diagram outlines five steps from the current BC Building Code requirements to net-zero energy ready requirements for Part 9 residential buildings. As shown in the second diagram, the same progression for Part 3, wood-frame residential buildings is four steps.

      Over time, as high-performance designs, materials, and systems become increasingly available and cost-effective, the building industry will integrate new techniques into all new buildings. By 2032, the BC Building Code will move toward the higher steps of the BC Energy Step Code as a minimum requirement. The National Building Code of Canada is similarly moving towards this outcome by 2030.

      Enerma Energy Solutions BC energy step code
      BC Energy Step code

      Benefits and trade-offs

      The BC Energy Step Code will reduce the amount of energy required by new buildings. It will also offer a range of side benefits to occupants, the environment, and the economy. However, such benefits come with a number of trade-offs.

      This is particularly true when it comes to meeting the more rigorous performance requirements of the Upper Steps. Briefly, trade-offs of projects built to the Upper Steps include:

      • Increased construction costs.
      • Local government staff and builders will need to be trained on new practices.
      • While it is possible to build beautiful homes and high-rise buildings to meet the Upper Steps, designers must pay special attention to the amount and location of window glazing and the design of balconies, to mitigate heat loss as much as possible. The added costs associated with implementing these changes may, in practice, result in fewer balconies or less glazing in some buildings.
      • Cost and training impacts will be more pronounced outside British Columbia’s Lower Mainland and Southern Vancouver Island regions.

      Of course, these trade-offs come with benefits. They include:

      • Occupant benefits

      Buildings built to higher energy-efficiency standards provide multiple benefits to those who live, work, and learn within them. Occupants often prefer these buildings as they:

        • Improve comfort, by better managing temperature
        • Improve health, by better managing fresh air throughout the building
        • Reduce noise, through better insulation and airtightness
        • Require less energy, helping occupants lower their energy bills
        • Are more durable
      • Environmental benefits

      The BC Energy Step Code helps communities chart a course to a future in which all of British Columbia’s new buildings will be net-zero ready by 2032. Such high performance buildings will play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping reach our climate targets.

      • Economic benefits

      The Province of British Columbia hopes that the BC Energy Step Code could make the province’s building sector more competitive, and potentially open up new economic development opportunities. Our province is already a green building design and construction leader, boasting some of highest-performing buildings in North America.

      • Industry benefits

      The BC Energy Step Code gives builders a welcome level of consistency on energy efficiency between local governments. The code provides flexibility to pursue innovative, creative, cost-effective solutions, and allows them to incorporate leading-edge technologies as they come available. The standard sets out a consistent path for future updates to the BC Building Code—giving builders a sense of what lies ahead on energy efficiency.

      • Local government benefits

      For local governments, the BC Energy Step Code offers a simple and efficient set of standards for building energy performance. It aligns nicely with many of the existing energy-performance programs that builders are already familiar with. It will also help local governments achieve their climate-action goals.

      Enerma Sustainable Solutions, helps homeowners drastically reduce their energy bills, and contribute to a greener planet. We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. By browsing ENERMA website, you agree to our use of cookies.