On April 12, 2017, City of Vancouver council voted to approve changes to amendments to the Water Works by-law and the 2014 Vancouver Building By-law.

As a property owner, developer, contractor or designer how do these changes affect you?

1. Ban of Once Through Cooling (OTC) Systems. Once Through Cooling systems use domestic cold water to provide cooling to air conditioners, coolers, refrigerators, and ice machines. The water is dumped to the drain once the heat has been rejected into it.

While OTC is no longer common for regular uses, they were still used until recently regularly for backup emergency cooling. In addition, there are many older OTC systems in older buildings still actively used.

The new regulations prohibit all OTC systems for all new construction immediately. For existing systems, the ban comes into effect on January 1, 2020.

There are many non-water consuming alternatives to an OTC system such as air-cooled heat pumps.In most cases, the pay-back to installing an alternative system would be less than 7 years.

2. Lower Flow Plumbing Fixtures. New lower flow plumbing fixtures will be required for all new construction:

– Water closet: 4.8 litres per flush (Lpf), with discretion of the Chief Building Official for up to 6.0 Lpf in retrofits
– Shower head: 7.6 litres per minute (L/min)
– Lavatory faucet: 1.9 L/min, except 5.7 L/min for private use areas
– Pre-rinse spray valve: 4.8 L/min
– Wash fountain: 6.8 L/min for each plumbing fixture

These plumbing fixtures match flow rates that are recommended in the 2015 National Plumbing Code. Lower flow fixtures have been used in LEED buildings for more than a decade and are widely available from wholesalers.

This amendment will come into effect on January 1, 2018.

For more information on how these two amendments affect your project or building, please feel free to contact BC Comfort.