BC Energy Step Code Implementation Strategy

On July 9, 2018, Council received and endorsed the City’s “BC Energy Step Code Implementation Strategy”. The Strategy recommended the BC Energy Step Code be implemented through a combination of building industry outreach and training, public incentives, and regulatory measures.

Click on the tabs below to learn more about the BC Energy Step Code and the City of Nanaimo's Implementation Strategy.

  • Progress

    When does the Step Code come into effect in Nanaimo?

    The City of Nanaimo has adopted a phased approach to allow builders time to transition to the new BC Energy Step Code requirements (see 'Background' for more information about the BC Energy Step Code).

    From April 21st, 2020 to January 1st, 2021, new Part 9 residential and commercial buildings will need to demonstrate "enhanced compliance" with Step 1 of the Step Code. Step 1 involves demonstrating, through a third party energy assessment, that a new residential or commercial building has met minimum energy efficiency requirements in the base BC Building Code by measuring air-tightness and energy performance.

    Starting January 2nd, 2021, all new Part 9 residential and commercial construction in Nanaimo will be built 10% more energy efficient than current code requirements. This will apply to Part 3 buildings on January 2nd, 2022.

    Also, beginning on January 2nd, 2022, all new Part 9 buildings will require to be 20% more energy efficient than current code requirements.

    Rebates and Incentive Programs

    To help support the transition to the Step Code, the City of Nanaimo is offering an Home Energy Assessment Rebate. A $150 rebate is available to homeowners that complete a home energy assessment that sets an EnerGuide rating for their home. In addition to the $150 rebate, homeowners who complete a follow-up assessment and can improve on the initial EnerGuide rating, can receive an additional incentive, up to a maximum of $200. 

    Between now and April 21st, 2020, developers of new Part 9 buildings can also take advantage of the rebate, while funding lasts.

    For developers applying for a Development Permit in Nanaimo, there is the opportunity to acquire additional density in many zones by providing amenities as outlined in 'Schedule D' of the City of Nanaimo Zoning Bylaw.  As of November 4, 2019, proposed buildings following the Step Code that exceed the minimum Building Bylaw requirements will be eligible for points towards additional density.  More information about the additional density requirements can be found in this Report to Council.

    Nanaimo will be reviewing a policy to consider additional Step Code requirements as part of future rezoning applications.

  • Documents
  • Details

    What is the City of Nanaimo's Step Code Implementation Strategy?

    As part of the City's efforts to address Climate Change and build more energy efficient homes and businesses. The City's BC Energy Step Code Implementation Strategy was adopted in July 2018. The strategy includes the following actions:


    • Working with regional partners (RDN, Canadian Home Builders Association) to coordinate a regional approach to step code implementation that supports industry and public engagement.
    • Support City energy efficiency awareness among Realtors through the Realtor Energy Efficiency Program (REEP).
    • Support regional step code workshops and seminars with the Regional District of Nanaimo.
    • Implement a Home Energy Assessment Rebate Program for homeowners.
    • Amend the City’s Zoning Bylaw Schedule D (Amenity Requirements for Additional Density) to reward additional amenity points to projects that meet BC Energy Step Three and above.
    • Amend the City's Building Bylaw 2016 No.7224 to require Step 1 compliance to become effective six months after adoption (March 23rd, 2020).


    • Support continuing education through the Regional District of Nanaimo to support Step Code implementation
    • Create a rezoning policy within the Official Community Plan that requires all rezoning applications for multiple-family, mixed use, or commercial buildings to enter into a restrictive covenant that requires Step Two compliance at the time of building and development permit.
    • Implement Step Code 1 compliance. All new construction (Part 9 and 3) will require a certified energy advisor perform a home energy assessment.
    • While funding lasts, limit the Home Energy Assessment Rebate to target only existing homes after Step One compliance comes into force for new construction.


    • The City's Environment Committee to review Implementation Strategy including consideration of a potentially expedited implementation plan that takes into account the City Climate Emergency Declaration.
    • Subject to funding approval, support continuing education to support Step Code implementation.
    • Monitor the rezoning policy and report to Council one year after the implementation date.
  • Background

    What is the BC Energy Step Code?

    The BC Energy Step Code is a voluntary provincial standard, enacted in April 2017, which establishes progressive performance steps in energy efficiency for new buildings from the current BC Building Code level to net zero energy ready buildings by 2032. The Step Code will apply to new residential and commercial buildings. To comply, builders must use energy modelling software and on-site testing to demonstrate that both their design and the constructed building meet the requirements of the BC Energy Step Code. The new standard provides more flexibility, fewer prescriptive requirements, and empowers builders to pursue innovative, cost-effective solutions. Nanaimo is joining other local government across the province by adopting the BC Energy Step Code.

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