EMBRACING THE
BC ENERGY STEP CODE

Airtight Solutions Leads the Path to Net Zero Energy Ready Buildings

In the quest for a greener future, the province of British Columbia has implemented the BC Energy Step Code. This transformative initiative paves the way for achieving net-zero energy-ready buildings by 2032.

This code establishes a clear roadmap for energy efficiency improvements and sets specific goals for future editions of the BC Building Code. At Airtight Solutions, our services will play an essential role in assisting builders in meeting the new Energy Step Code requirements.

Let’s explore how the BC Energy Step Code impacts the construction industry.

Building a Sustainable Future

The BC Energy Step Code acts as a vital catalyst for the construction industry to align with the ambitious energy efficiency targets the CleanBC program sets. By following the code’s progressive steps, builders, professionals, and Building Officials can proactively prepare for enhanced energy efficiency requirements. 

For example, the energy efficiency goals set for the 2022 Building Code call for a 20% improvement, with subsequent targets of 40% by 2027 and achieving net-zero Energy Ready by 2032. Successfully realizing these goals relies on collaboration between project teams, local governments, utilities, and the provincial government.

The Role of Airtight Solutions

At Airtight Solutions, we are in the business of providing air-sealing services for building enclosures. 

Our company recognizes the vital importance of embracing the BC Energy Step Code. The code emphasizes an enclosure-first approach, which minimizes energy demand and allows for the use of more efficient mechanical equipment. 

By prioritizing air tightness testing and ensuring a continuous air barrier throughout the design process, Airtight Solutions helps minimize air leakage, reducing heating and cooling demand. This approach optimizes energy performance and sets the foundation for net-zero energy ready buildings.

Benefits of the BC Energy Step Code

The BC Energy Step Code introduces several key benefits for the construction industry:

  1. Unified Energy Performance Requirements: The code unifies energy performance requirements across the province, eliminating discrepancies and providing clarity for builders, professionals, and Building Officials.
  2. Shift to Performance-based Requirements: Moving away from prescriptive-based compliance; the code encourages a performance-based approach that measures overall building energy usage. This shift promotes more comprehensive design and construction processes, fostering collaboration among different stakeholders.
  3. Alignment with CleanBC Program: By aligning with the CleanBC program’s energy improvement targets, the BC Energy Step Code ensures that net-zero energy ready design becomes the minimum standard by 2032.

Airtightness Testing and its Importance

Whole-building airtightness testing is required in all BC Energy Step Code steps.

This process necessitates collaboration among all design and construction team members. Energy Advisors or qualified contractors carry out the testing, and it involves pressurizing or depressurizing the building using blower door fans. 

By measuring factors such as fan airflow and pressure differences across the enclosure, the test results provide insights into the overall airtightness of the building.

Airtightness Energy Efficient Building

Airtightness is a widely used measurement in the industry to assess how much air enters or escapes a building enclosure, often called the “air leakage rate.”

The BC Energy Step Code quantifies airtightness as air changes per hour (ACH). It must be tested under a test pressure difference of at least 50 Pascals, following the guidelines outlined in BCBC Article 9.36.6.5., specifying the approved airtight testing standards.

The level of airtightness in a building is taken into account as a factor when conducting energy modeling. This evaluation occurs at two stages: during the initial design phase (pre-construction) and once the building is completed (as-built).

Air Changes Per Hour Calculation

Airtight Solutions and the BC Energy Step Code

As a provider of AeroBarrier services to builders, our company is well-equipped to support the industry’s transition to the BC Energy Step Code.

Airtight Solutions ensures that buildings meet the prescribed energy efficiency standards and guarantees passing the final blower door test. We are a trusted partner for builders striving for high-performance buildings. 

AeroBarrier’s precise, measurable results remove the guesswork and headache of uncertainty when meeting any air sealing requirement.

Looking Ahead

Implementing the BC Energy Step Code marks a significant milestone in British Columbia’s journey towards sustainable and energy-efficient buildings.

With Airtight Solutions leading the way in embracing this code, the construction industry gains a valuable ally in achieving net-zero energy ready buildings by 2032. Through continued collaboration, innovation, and adherence to the principles outlined in the BC Energy Step Code.

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