On Monday December 11, 2017, the NDP Government made an announcement that they would be proceeding with completing the Site C Dam project in the BC Peace River region.

The 10 billion dollar project has been surrounded by controversy due to its immense cost and environmental impacts.  However, one thing is certain – BC’s demand for electricity will increase significantly in the coming decades.

Studies show that buildings consume around 40% of total energy.   However, this includes both natural gas and electricity.  BC has recently implemented two policies that are pushing building systems largely towards electricity-only.

The first of these is Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan.  The plan implemented is for all new buildings to use renewable energy by 2030, and all new and existing buildings to use renewable energy by 2050.
Realistically, hydro-generated electricity is the only viable option as alternative forms of renewable energy such as recovered methane are very expensive.

Similarly, BC recently implemented the BC Energy Step Code.  The goal of the code is to have all new buildings net-zero ready by 2032.  The code gives “steps” that municipalities can adopt to achieve this goal.

The City of North Vancouver is the first city to adopt the code with new requirements for new houses (Part 3 buildings) effective Dec 15, 2017.  Most municipalities in the Lower Mainland are looking to adopt various “steps” or requirements for new buildings sometime in 2018.

Because of these changes, demand for electricity will increase in the coming decade.  The preferred source of heating will start changing from natural gas, to electricity.

Mechanically, there will be increase in the number of heat pump type systems even for domestic hot water.  The technology currently exists to adhere to these new regulations; however, there will certainly be growing pains to change construction to non-traditional and more energy efficient buildings.

For more information on how to best prepare for these energy changes, contact our Design team today.