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Step Code
Learning Centre

An introduction to

BC's Energy Step Code

Step Code Basics

The Energy Step Code is a standard set by the Province of BC to improve efficiency in new buildings.

 

Step Code is performance-based and fuel-neutral, so there are many ways to reach your target.

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Basics

Step Code Compliance

BC municipalities require up to three Step Code reports, each at a different stage in the construction process. Our advisors can do them all.

The first report (Stage 1) is required to get your building permit. The later reports (Stages 2 and 3) are used to verify that the house is built to the standard of efficiency described in Stage 1. See below for more details.​

Compliance

STAGE 1

Pre-permit energy modeling

  • ​We create a preliminary energy model based on your plans.

  • We provide the pre-construction compliance report.

STAGE 2

Mid-construction blower-door test

  • We come on site to verify that the build is on track.

  • We provide the mid-construction report, including airtightness.

STAGE 3

As-built compliance and blower-door test

  • We visit the completed home to confirm the final airtightness.

  • We provide the as-built compliance reports for Step Code.

Step Code is Flexible

Step Code offers you tremendous flexibility in your design. See below for an example of how you can take advantage.

 

The old building code was rigid. Buildings had to meet specific requirements for insulation, windows, furnaces, etc. It focused on individual elements, rather than the overall performance of the system.

Step Code allows you to reduce cost by upgrading some components, and downgrading others. You choose how to meet Step Code targets, and how to maximize customer value during the compliance process.

See the graphic below for an example of how Step Code options can save you time and money.

Flexibility

Can a 2x4 wall
meet Step 4?

In the table, you see 3 designs, each with different walls, windows, and heating.

 

Using Step Code's performance path, all of these designs can meet Step 4.

To explore cost-saving design options for your project, schedule a free Step Code consultation today.

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Step Code is Unique

​You may be wondering what makes Step Code different? Especially if you're familiar with other green building certifications like:

  • PassiveHouse

  • BUILTGREEN®

  • ENERGY STAR for New Homes

  • R2000

  • LEED


The BC Energy Step Code is not designed to replace these certifications, but to set a consistent baseline for performance modelling across all municipalities.

 

Step Code provides consistency in administrative requirements, with a standardized compliance process across the province. This means that our advisors can help with code compliance for your municipality, guaranteed.

What's required in your area

Step 3 is now the minimum for all BC municipalities, but some municipalities require Step 4 or 5.

Use our infographic to check what your area requires.

 

(Updated August 17th, 2022)

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Area requirement

New to Step Code?

Get the basics at our

Learning Centre

Looking to save?

Optimize your design with Step Code options

Questions?

Get a free consultation with one of our advisors

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