The STEP Code is a tool to help British Columbia achieve its goal for all new buildings to be net-zero energy ready by 2032. The regulation sets performance targets for new construction and groups them into “steps”, hence the name “STEP Code”. Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) can choose or offer incentives to builders to meet one or more steps of the STEP Code. Refer to this link for up to date information on municipalities offering incentives and requiring STEP Code compliance: https://energystepcode.ca/implementation_updates/
To comply, energy software modelling and on-site testing is required to demonstrate that the building design and the finished building meet the requirements of the standard. Part 9 builders must work with an Energy Advisor or Modeller to review their plans, model the energy consumption, and conduct the final airtightness testing and verification of plans to confirm that the as-built home meets the energy performance target as set out in a given step of the STEP Code. Our Energy Advisors can provide the energy modelling and perform the required airtightness testing.
Compliance with STEP Code is now mandatory for many parts of Vancouver Island.
EnerGuide Energy Assessments
Our energy advisors will come to your house to evaluate your home’s energy performance. During the on-site evaluation, our advisors will collect the following information:
- Complete review of the building envelope (windows, doors, ceilings, walls, foundation)
- Visual inspection and measurement to determine surface area and insulation levels
- Complete review of mechanical systems (heating system, air conditioning system, ventilation system and domestic hot water)
- Blower door test
- Depressurization test where required (combustion spillage)
- Measurement of air changes per hour at 50 Pa
- Location of major air leakage areas
- Energy modeling of all components to determine the energy efficiency of your home
- Compared to a new home built to 2010 NBC National Building Code
- Individual recommended upgrades with associated potential energy savings
- ERS certified label for your home as it currently stands
- Intensity energy rating of your home
Greener Homes Grant: The Government of Canada has committed to 700,000 grants of up to $5,000 to help homeowners improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Click here to find out more.
Energy Code Compliance
Section 9.36, Energy Efficiency, requires stricter construction practices of new homes to ensure higher energy efficiency levels are met. The code applies to all residential new construction and major renovations and additions. There are four paths to compliance:
- The Prescriptive Compliance Pathway uses a checklist approach to ensure that minimum requirements in the energy code are met. This method is the most straightforward, as energy efficiency requirements are listed by building component, including mechanical/ventilation requirements and minimum effective R-values for all wall, ceiling and foundation assemblies. The Prescriptive Path can net significant savings to high volume home builders that use consistent construction specifications.
- The Trade-off Path allows more flexibility in the design as it allows you to trade elements within the above ground building envelope to demonstrate an equivalent level of performance without meeting every prescriptive requirement found in 9.36.2. The Trade-Off path requires a calculation to demonstrate that while the proposed design does not exactly meet the prescriptive requirements, the amount of energy consumed will be the same or less than would be consumed by following strict prescriptive compliance.
- The Performance Compliance Pathway compares the modeled energy consumption of the proposed house to the modeled energy consumption of an identical reference house. The proposed house is in compliance if its modeled energy consumption is lower than or equal to that of the Code Reference house. Once construction of the house is complete, a blower door test is performed and a Natural Resources Canada EnerGuide Rating System label is issued.
- The EnerGuide Rating System for New Homes Compliance offers the same design flexibility as the Performance Path but also includes EnerGuide labelling. A blower door test must be completed for all homes and the home’s rating must be minimum 5% better than a typical new home.
To complete a 9.36 performance model, we will require the following:
- House plans
- Equipment specifications including the following:
- Window details
- Mechanical systems (domestic hot water, ventilation, heating system)
- Wall construction type
- Orientation of the house
- Foundation construction details
- Roof construction details
- Details of all other building envelope components such as exposed floors, cantilevers, vaulted ceilings, etc.
Contact us today to find out which compliance path best fits your needs.
HOT2000 Energy Modelling
VerdaTech designers can:
- Forecast energy consumption for your residential construction projects more accurately than ever before
- Project energy costs and performance of natural gas, electric, propane, oil, and wood heating equipment
- Check to make sure your low-rise residential designs comply with energy regulations before you start to build
- Calculate thermal resistance of envelope components, including thermal bridging of construction materials
- Improve the energy efficiency of your building designs for better cost-control and materials use
- Predict and control natural, temperature and wind-induced air infiltration to reduce your clients’ energy bills
- Exploit the potential of passive solar heating to increase the energy performance of your buildings
- Plan for adequate interior ventilation for good indoor air quality and superior comfort.
- Estimate energy requirements for space heating and cooling, water heating, lighting, and appliances at the design stage
RETScreen modeling can be used to evaluate any one of or any combination of the following applications: power, heating, cooling, single buildings or multiple buildings, industrial processes, communities, district heating and district cooling. Further, it permits analysis with a wide range of renewable and non-renewable fuels (which can be used in parallel), including landfill gas, biomass, bagasse, biodiesel, hydrogen, natural gas, oil/diesel, coal, municipal waste, etc. Finally, these fuels can be evaluated using multiple types of power, heating and/or cooling equipment, including reciprocating engines, gas turbines, gas turbine – combined cycle, steam turbines, geothermal systems, fuel cells, wind turbines, hydro turbines, photovoltaic modules, boilers, heat pumps, biomass systems, heaters, furnaces, compressors, absorption chillers, etc., all working under various operating conditions (baseload, intermediate load and/or peak load).
RETScreen modeling is used to help the user estimate the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of the proposed project. VerdaTech evaluators can help the customer estimate the sensitivity of important financial indicators in relation to key technical and financial parameters to help optimize the project from an energy use and cost standpoint.
Information on Program Rebates
Commissioning & Problem Solving
Because forced-air heating and cooling systems are assembled on site from multiple parts, there are many ways for installers to make mistakes. Researchers have repeatedly shown that a high percentage of residential forced-air systems have major problems, including duct systems that are poorly designed, poorly located, and leaky.
The classic solution to these problems, in addition to the obvious step of better duct system design, is to insist on a more rigorous commissioning process. Commissioning refers to the process of testing and adjusting installed equipment to be sure that it performs in accordance with the manufacturer’s specs and the designer’s intent.
VerdaTech’s HRAI certified RASDT & RHDT energy consultants can help you solve and prevent a host of problems that will reduce the efficiency of an H-VAC system.