The BC Energy Step Code and What It Means for REALTORS®

Sep 10, 2020

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Posted by
Marianne Brimmell
Communications Specialist

In the coming years, new homes in BC are about to get measurably healthier, quieter, more durable, and more energy efficient than those on the resale market, thanks to a regulation called the BC Energy Step Code. BCREA is collaborating with BC Hydro to ensure REALTORS® understand the BC Energy Step Code, so they can better advise their clients and meet the growing demand for “high-performance homes.”    

What is the BC Energy Step Code?

In short, the BC Energy Step Code sets performance requirements for new construction and groups them into “steps.” Authorities with jurisdiction over the BC Building Code – including local governments – can choose to require or incentivize builders to meet the performance requirements of one or more steps.

The province has set a goal that by 2032, the BC Building Code will set Step 5 as the base requirement for all new houses. This means new homes will be up to 80 per cent more energy efficient than those built today. The province has also set interim targets and aims to set a base requirement of Step 3 by 2022.    

What does this mean for Realtors?

As new homes become healthier, quieter, more durable, and more energy efficient over the coming years, Realtors can help homebuyers make informed decisions by educating them on these benefits. New homebuyers are also showing unprecedented interest in energy-efficient homes and will expect Realtors to be knowledgeable on the subject. In a recent Canadian Home Builders Association national survey, nine out of 10 respondents said they either “really want” or “must have” an energy-efficient home.

As leaders in their communities, Realtors can also act as agents of change by further educating consumers on the benefits of energy-efficient homes. In doing so, Realtors can ensure demand continues to grow for homes that are better for their clients, their communities, and the environment.    

How is BCREA here to help?

BCREA is collaborating with BC Hydro to ensure Realtors have the knowledge and resources they need to understand the BC Energy Step Code and to market high-performance homes. Over the coming months, we will produce a podcast episode on the topic, additional blog posts, and host an all-Realtor webinar. In 2021, BCREA will also launch an accredited Professional Development Program course on energy-efficient homes.

Stay tuned for the next episode of Open House by BCREA, featuring Zachary May, Chair of the BC Energy Step Code Council, who will speak to the BC Energy Step Code and how it’s implementation will affect real estate practice.

For more info about the BC Energy Step Code, visit energystepcode.ca.

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