British Columbia communities are unlocking a $3.3 billion energy efficiency opportunity
Many of British Columbia’s fastest growing cities and towns are incentivizing and/or requiring higher levels of energy efficiency in new construction, spurring healthier, more comfortable, and more durable buildings — and a surge in employment and investment.
The communities are using the BC Energy Step Code, a recently introduced provincial regulation that allows them to require their builders to exceed the code’s minimum legal energy-efficiency requirements. In doing so, they’re helping drive a $3.3 billion new market for high-efficiency building products, according to a recent Vancouver Economic Commission study.
The policy is also expected to help create 925 manufacturing jobs throughout B.C., and 770 ongoing installation jobs, according to the study.
“We’re seeing a real surge in exceptionally energy-efficient buildings and stable, well-paying jobs for people to manufacture, install, and service the materials and components that go into them,” said Luke Dolan, owner of Capital Home Energy and the B.C. director of the Canadian Association of Consulting Energy Advisors. Energy advisors work with builders to ensure their projects cost-effectively meet the requirements of the BC Energy Step Code.
“As more B.C. communities start requiring higher levels of energy efficiency in new construction, we’re expecting to see many more energy advisors, and other positions for people who have the skills to manufacture or install building products and technologies or are willing to learn them,” Dolan added.
“With the BC Energy Step Code, British Columbia has set a new national bar for action on new-building energy efficiency,” said Corey Diamond, executive director of Efficiency Canada. “The province has proven out an innovative new model for transforming communities for a low-carbon future, and other provinces and territories can confidently follow in its footsteps.”
The BC Energy Step Code is seeing remarkable uptake and support from industry, utilities, and all levels of government. The 24 communities that have to date adopted the regulation collectively represent more than 70 percent of new residential construction activity in the province. The province has set a goal that all new buildings must reach an exceptionally high level of energy efficiency performance by 2032.
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Efficiency Canada is the national voice for an energy efficient economy. Our mission is to create a sustainable environment and better life for all Canadians by making our country a global leader in energy efficiency policy, technology, and jobs. We conduct rigorous policy analysis; communicate compelling narratives; and convene and mobilize Canada’s dynamic energy efficiency sector. Efficiency Canada is housed at Carleton University’s Sustainable Energy Research Centre.