BC Energy Step Code

Exterior of residential properties

The BC Energy Step Code is a provincial standard that aims to create healthier, more energy-efficient and comfortable new buildings. It does so by establishing measurable performance-based energy-­efficiency requirements for new construction.

Since July 1, 2018, building permit applications for new construction have been required to show compliance with the BC Energy Step Code. Updated minimum requirements will be effective November 1, 2023. The following table outlines the District of West Vancouver’s BC Energy Step Code requirements.

Building Type

Current Requirements  

Effective November 1, 2023

Part 9 residential (single family, townhouse and other Part 9 residential buildings)¹

Pathway 1: Step 3 + LCES²
Pathway 2: Step 5

Pathway 1: Step 4 + ZCSC³
Pathway 2: Step 5

Part 9 detached secondary suite¹

Pathway 1: Step 2 + LCES²
Pathway 2: Step 5

Pathway 1: Step 3 + ZCSC³
Pathway 2: Step 5

Part 3 residential (multi-family and apartment buildings)

Pathway 1: Step 2 + LCES²
Pathway 2: Step 4

Pathway 1: Step 2 + ZCSC³
Pathway 2: Step 4

Part 3 business and personal services or mercantile (commercial, office and retail buildings)

Step 2

Step 2 + ZCSC³

¹Compliance with the Step Code will require the input of an Energy Advisor at various stages of the project, including design, construction and building completion. Building Permit applications must include a performance modelling report along with construction details that show how the proposed house will comply with the BC Energy Step Code and the low carbon energy system pathway, if applicable.

²Low Carbon Energy System means a mechanical system providing all thermal conditioning and all domestic hot water heating for a building primarily from low-carbon energy sources with the following characteristics:

(a) system seasonal average coefficient of performance greater than two;

(b) modelled Greenhouse Gas Intensity of no more than 3 kg CO2e/m2/yr; and

(c) any natural gas-fired peak demand heating equipment is appropriately sized to augment the primary low carbon system under peak demand conditions.

³Zero Carbon Step Code (ZCSC) is a new Provincial standard introduced to the BC Building Code (BCBC) in May 2023 which limits operational greenhouse gas emissions from space conditioning and domestic hot water systems. Beginning November 1, 2023, the ZCSC Level EL-3 will replace the District of West Vancouver’s current Low Carbon Energy System (LCES) requirements.

Zero Carbon Step Code Level EL-3 general requirements (refer to BCBC Div. B Sections 9.37. or 10.3. for details):

  1. Part 9 Residential: modelled Greenhouse Gas Intensity (GHGI) of no more than 2.5 kg CO₂e/m²/year to a maximum GHG emissions of 800 kg CO₂e/year
  2. Part 3 Residential, Business and Personal Services, or Mercantile: maximum modelled GHGI in accordance with BCBC Table