Enerma Solutions, New Buildings

Navigating Vancouver’s Updated Energy Requirements for New Homes

Vancouver’s Updated Energy Requirements for New Homes - VBBL - Enerma Vancouver Energy Advisor

Are you on the brink of designing or constructing a new single-family or multi-family home in Vancouver? Whether you’re envisioning a cozy townhouse, a spacious family abode, or a modern laneway dwelling, understanding the city’s latest energy requirements is paramount. Effective January 1, 2022, Vancouver has implemented updated regulations under the 2019 Vancouver Building By-law (VBBL) for residential buildings ranging from one to three storey homes. These changes are aimed at enhancing envelope efficiency and curbing emissions in new low-rise homes. Here’s what you need to know:

Compliance Options:

Builders and designers now have three compliance pathways to choose from:

  1. Prescriptive Performance Targets: This option entails meeting predefined targets for envelope and mechanical components.
  2. Thermal Energy Demand Intensity (TEDI), Mechanical Energy Use Intensity (MEUI), and Greenhouse Gas Intensity (GHGI) Targets: Compliance involves verifying energy modeling to ensure alignment with specified targets.
  3. Passive House Certification: Alternatively, compliance can be achieved through Passive House Certification.

Mechanical System Requirements:

Heating and hot water systems in new low-rise residential constructions are subject to specific mandates:

  1. Electric Space Heating and Hot Water: For applications submitted after January 1, 2022, electric heating systems are mandated for most new builds.
  2. Mechanical Permits: Effective July 1, 2022, mechanical permits are obligatory for all new heating systems.
  3. Heat Pump Options: Electric resistance and electric heat pumps are viable options to fulfill heating requirements.
  4. Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs): Beginning January 1, 2022, installers must submit checklists at design, installation, and commissioning stages.

Tests and Evaluations:

To ensure compliance with the VBBL, builders must engage with an EnerGuide Energy Advisor throughout various stages:

    1. Pre-permit Checklist: Submission of a pre-permit checklist alongside the building permit application.
    2. Energy Modeling: Utilization of the EnerGuide HOT2000 software for home energy modeling.
    3. Blower Door Test: Conducting a blower door test to identify and rectify air leakage issues.
    4. Mid-construction Review and Final Evaluation: A comprehensive review conducted by the Energy Advisor during mid-construction and upon completion.

Energy Modeling Guidelines and Resources:

As Vancouver strives towards a more sustainable and energy-efficient future, these updated regulations mark a significant step forward in ensuring that new residential constructions align with the city’s environmental objectives. By embracing these requirements, builders and homeowners alike contribute to the collective effort in building a greener, more resilient community.

Vancouver Energy Advisor - Vancouver’s Updated Energy Requirements for New Homes - VBBL - Enerma Vancouver Energy Advisor