Thursday, April 17, 2008

British Columbia Building Code Gets Greener

BC Building Code Aims to

Reduce Energy and Water Use

New standards for the energy and water efficiency of buildings will lower energy and water use and decrease greenhouse gas emissions, Minister responsible for Housing Rich Coleman announced today.

“Greening the B.C. Building Code will reduce the environmental footprint of buildings and will lower energy bills for British Columbians,” said Coleman. “It is one of the steps being taken across government to meet our target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020.”

Houses, multi-family residential buildings under five storeys and small commercial and industrial buildings will have new insulation requirements. In the case of housing, builders can choose to achieve an EnerGuide Rating System rating of 77 as an alternative to meeting the insulation requirements. The EnerGuide system uses computer software to consider the building as a system, and includes an energy efficiency rating. Builders can elect to use a combination of different building materials and techniques to achieve an EnerGuide rating of 77.

High-rise residential buildings and larger commercial buildings must meet the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers 90.1(2004) standard. ASHRAE 90.1 is an internationally recognized standard for energy efficiency that applies to several building components: the building envelope; heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems; water heating; power, lighting; and other equipment.

To reduce water use, ultra low-flow toilets and other water saving plumbing fixtures will be mandatory.

“This is the first time in B.C. that every building constructed in the province will meet energy and water efficiency targets,” said Coleman. “These new standards were developed after consultation with those who work with the Building Code every day – builders, designers, and local governments – as well as the general public.”

The government is committed to implementing the highest energy efficiency standards possible. The B.C. Building Code will be updated on a regular basis with green standards to support the Province’s climate action goals. The Province is exploring further changes, including grey water recycling, the use of lighting sensors and the reuse of existing buildings. More public consultation will be held as these steps are developed.

“Sustainable building practices are enhanced by a greener regulatory framework. This is very important to the building design and construction community,” said Derek Doyle, executive director and registrar of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C., which participated in an industry advisory committee on the new green requirements for buildings. “APEGBC was pleased to collaborate in the greening of the B.C. Building Code.”

The new green requirements, which apply to all new construction, come into effect on Sept. 5, 2008, giving industry and local governments time to become familiar with the changes.

More information on the new green building requirements is available online at by clicking on the Greening the B.C. Building Code button.


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