City taking voluntary Step Code approach

The step code is a provincial initiative to incrementally increase the energy efficiency of new construction, with the goal of net-zero buildings by 2032. Net-zero buildings are structures that produce as much clean enery as the consume

The city wants to take a voluntary approach to implementing the BC Energy Step Code.

City of Kamloops building and engineering development manager Jason Dixon said the city spoke with industry and found that metrics for which the energy efficiency of buildings will be measured have yet to be hammered out by the province.

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The province is on the second iteration and in the process of putting out a third set of metrics.

“We want to let a little more of that play out,” Dixon told KTW.

The step code is a provincial initiative to incrementally increase the energy efficiency of new construction, with the goal of net-zero buildings by 2032.

Net-zero buildings are structures that produce as much clean enery as the consume.

In 2022, homes will be required to be made 20 per cent more energy efficient than today’s building code standards.

In the lead-up, municipalities were given the opportunity to opt-in early with provincial support.

However, Dixon said the city does not want to be in the position of forcing people to comply with guidelines that might later change as the program naturally works out kinks.

Dixon said incentives will be provided in order to encourage the local building industry to voluntarily comply.

In addition to approving the voluntary compliance plan, council on Tuesday approved using $130,000 from the city’s climate action fund for incentives.

For every step met up to step three, builders will receive $1,000. (Step 1 gets $1,000, Step 2 gets $2,000 and $3,000 is available for Step 3 and higher.)

Dixon said the city sees approximately 200 homes and duplexes built per year.

A 10 per cent buy-in from builders would be deemed successful, he said. If the incentives were eaten up in the two-year voluntary period, Dixon said staff could go back to council to request more money.

“We’ll keep an eye on it,” he said.

The voluntary program will begin on Oct. 1, 2019, while the mandatory program will become effective on Jan. 1, 2022.

Step 4 — 40 per cent more energy efficient — is slated to come into effect across B.C. in 2027.

© Kamloops This Week

 


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