Building Towards
Net Zero

“Lentel has always built to a higher standard and our energy-efficient builds offer proof. On-site testing gives clients the hard data that lets them know their home has been built with skill and care.”

Jon Sever, Site Supervisor

The BC Energy Step Code, Net Zero and BUILT GREEN®

Let’s start with an introduction to the concepts:

  • The BC Energy Step Code

    The BC Energy Step Code was designed to help the building industry gradually develop the skills, experience and materials to build to a Net Zero Energy-Ready standard by 2032. (We explain Net Zero below.) The code “steps” through five ascending levels of energy-efficiency. Until 2032, municipalities can choose whether to apply the code to new home builds, and at what level.

  • Net Zero Energy-Ready Homes

    Net Zero Energy-Ready Homes are built to Step Code 5 and they will be the standard for new builds in 2032. The homes achieve high levels of energy-efficiency through advanced construction methods, extra insulation, high-performance windows, an airtight building envelope, and superior ventilation, heating and cooling systems. They have the systems in place to connect to alternative sources of energy, such as solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, or wind turbines.

  • Net Zero Homes

    Once the renewable energy systems are installed and connected, Net Zero Energy-Ready homes become Net Zero homes, producing as much energy as they consume. The homes are up to 80% more energy efficient than typical new homes, feed energy to the grid when they have a surplus, and draw energy from the grid when they need it.

  • BUILT GREEN® Homes

    BUILT GREEN® homes are healthier, more durable and energy-efficient than typical homes, and have a lower environmental impact both during their build, and in their day-to-day operation.

    The program’s energy-efficiency targets are aligned with Step Code targets:

    • BUILT GREEN® Gold meets Step 3 of the BC Energy Step Code
    • BUILT GREEN® Platinum can achieve up to Step 5, or Net Zero Energy-Ready – the standard that will be required across the country by 2032
  • The BUILT GREEN® Net Zero Energy+ program

    The BUILT GREEN® Net Zero Energy+ program is for homeowners who want to build a Net Zero home that also incorporates sustainable building practices and healthy housing features including: resource conservation, less pollution, better indoor air quality, and durability. Homes labeled Net Zero Energy+ must meet Net Zero energy performance standards, as well as BUILT GREEN® Gold or Platinum standards.

How does the BC Energy Step Code impact my new build?

Different municipalities have opted into the Step Code at different levels, but all of them will have to conform to a Net Zero Energy-Ready standard (Step Code 5) for new builds by 2032, when the new BC Building Code comes into effect. (Changes are coming to the National Building Code of Canada in 2030, as well.)

Your municipality’s current Step Code requirements determine the level of energy-efficiency that will be required in your new build – you can go higher, but not lower. The standard in your municipality may change from year-to-year as we edge closer to 2032.

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How does the BC Energy Step Code work?

The BC Energy Step Code sets an overall goal for energy efficiency and then allows your design and building team to determine how they will achieve it. Homebuilders are free to use any combination of design solutions, materials, technology, and energy-performance programs to achieve the goal.

Should I choose BUILT GREEN® or Net Zero?

At Lentel, we choose the building programs and techniques that will give you the features you need with the quality we’re known for. All of our new homes are enrolled in the BUILT GREEN® program, and we are also able to also enroll you in Net Zero. BUILT GREEN® is our current program of choice as it delivers the energy efficiency certifications that will help your home retain its future market value, along with green building certifications. The tables below can help you decide which program is right for you.

My goal is:
  • Improved energy-efficiency

Build from Step Code 3 to 5, under the BC Energy Step Code program.

Build a BUILT GREEN® home, aligning its energy-efficiency goals with your BC Energy Step Code goal.

My goal is:
  • Improved energy-efficiency
  • Lower environmental impact
  • Healthy housing features

Build with solutions from the Built Green® program, aligning its energy-efficiency goals with your BC Energy Step Code goal.

BUILT GREEN® checks all the boxes on sustainability

The certification for BUILT GREEN® supports, aligns with, and extends beyond the BC Energy Step Code.

Chart below from BUILT GREEN®

BC Energy Step Code:
  • Energy & Envelope
  • Energy & Envelope
  • Materials & Methods
  • Indoor Air Quality
  • Ventilation
  • Waste Management
  • Water Conservation
  • Business Practices

Will it cost me more to build a Net Zero-compliant home?

According to the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, “Significant strides have been made over the last 5 to 10 years by industry innovators. This has reduced the additional costs of Net Zero Homes by as much as 50% – and in many cases we’re now able to achieve cost neutrality when operating costs are considered. This means that the extra cost of Net Zero Homes can be off-set by the monthly energy savings – at net-zero monthly cost!”

Every year, as new technology and materials are developed and become more widely available, the costs of building to a Net Zero standard come down – and as energy costs rise, the savings in operating costs become more significant. In addition, you may be eligible for a partial refund of your CMHC mortgage loan insurance premium under the CMHC Eco Plus program.

How can I verify that my new home has achieved its energy efficiency goals?

Lentel works with an energy advisor, who uses energy modeling software and on-site testing throughout the project to show that both the design and construction meet the project’s energy efficiency goals.

Once a new home is finished, the energy advisor tests the home to verify that the requirements have been met, and the homeowner receives an EnerGuide label that summarizes the home’s energy performance. It shows you, and future buyers, the energy consumption of your home when it was newly constructed, and makes it possible to compare the performance of one house to another.

Homes built under the Built Green® program receive an EnerGuide label, as well as a Built Green® label and plaque.

Why would I choose to build to a higher standard of energy-efficiency now?

Smart homebuilders (and homeowners) are building to a higher standard of energy efficiency now, whether their municipality requires it or not. Not only is it the responsible thing to do in the face of changing climate patterns, (Canada’s homes and buildings account for 18% of national greenhouse gas emissions), but it reduces the impact of rising energy costs on your budget.

The advanced building methods required for energy efficiency also make your home more durable and comfortable. And it means that your new home will hold its value in the market when competing against the highly energy-efficient homes that will be the standard in less than a decade.

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Thinking about building a new home, a major renovation, or developing a property in South Delta, South Surrey, White Rock or Richmond? Please get in touch – we’d love to meet to discuss your ideas and share our thoughts.