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New regional energy efficiency program set to launch this spring

A new Regional Energy Efficiency Program and the introduction of the BC Energy Step Code were announced for the area including Nelson. — Screenshot photo

Call it a step in the right direction.

Building in Nelson just grew a whole lot more efficient after the new Regional Energy Efficiency Program and the introduction of the BC Energy Step Code were announced for the area including Nelson.

The program intends to introduce new energy efficient guidelines and strategies in order to be implementing them consistently in 2032 when the code changes take effect, said Carmen Proctor with Nelson EcoSave.

An April 30 launch is expected for Nelson and will build after that, with new homebuilders and existing housing stock owners being able to participate, she said.

“The whole idea … is that we will all be trained up so that 100 per cent of our new builds would meet the energy efficient code,” she said.

“And the Step Code is a way for builders to deliver what is being requested.”

The Regional Energy Efficiency Program (REEP) is a regional approach to energy efficiency in buildings for both new and existing homes.

The Step Code includes incremental steps to increase energy-efficiency requirements in the BC Building Code to make buildings net-zero energy ready by 2032. The BC Energy Step Code — a part of the BC Building Code — supports that effort.

The Step Code is a voluntary practice enacted in April 2017 and it establishes a series of measurable, performance-based energy efficiency requirements for construction that builders can choose to build to.

The Energy Step Code also provides one single provincial standard that replaces the patchwork of different green building standards.

The Energy Step Code is performance based and not prescriptive, not specifying how to construct a building, but identifies an energy efficiency target that must be met and lets the home builder decide how to meet it.

That means builders must use energy modelling software and on-site testing to demonstrate that the design and the constructed building meet the requirements of the BC Energy Step Code.

People can participate by registering with the program, then undertaking a pre-energy evaluation and finding out about rebates and financing they may qualify for.

Once the upgrades are completed a post-energy evaluation will be done with an EnerGuide rating delivered overall.

The Community Energy Association (CEA) mission is to deliver the new home aspect of the program and add to Nelson Hydro’s existing EcoSave program for existing homes in the regional district.

CEA and Nelson Hydro are REEP’s primary partners, and in delivering the program they each have some lofty goals.
Nelson Hydro is expected to develop the Home Retrofit program to offer certified energy assessments, retrofit incentives and rebates and with the goal to reach three per cent of the existing housing stock, or 774 homes.

In conjunction with that, the CEA will develop the New Home program to offer education, training and workshops to builders and officials with the goal of 80 per cent penetration.

“This supports the transition of building practice in our area to the new BC Energy Step Code, a component of the BC Building Code,” said Proctor.

The launch of the programs will be marketed throughout the area and a pubic information session will take place in April 2019, and on-going awareness campaigns until December 2020.

For more information go to www.energystepcode.ca.