Effective April 7, 2017, the 2012 BC Building Code was amended to include the BC Energy Step Code. What is this amendment, and how does it affect future construction projects?

Energy Performance Targets

The Step Code is an energy code that sets performance targets rather than the traditional prescriptive approach.  In other words, the code requires an energy use target, rather than a certain type of envelope construction or mechanical system type. This gives designers and contractors more flexibility and innovation potential to achieve the desired target.

For example, under step 2, the code requires a building envelope energy demand of less than or equal to 45kWh/m2-year. Only performance targets defined, instead of prescriptive targets, like insulation values.


The Step Code is a voluntary code from the province. Cities can choose to adopt the code at their discretion.


However, the code is also binding. Cities no longer have the legal authority to set technical building requirements. If they want to implement a requirement, it must be in the form of the energy step code.

Note that the City of Vancouver is exempt from the code as Vancouver has its own Building By-Law.


The Step Code is meant to be adopted in “steps”. The first step, enhanced compliance” will be to use energy modeling to comply to current BC Building Code requirements. The end goal is to transition to net zero buildings by 2032 in BC.

For more information on the BC Energy Step Code and how it affects your current or future project, please contact BC Comfort at 604-439-3344.