High-Performance Design

British Columbia's Energy Step Code

The Province of British Columbia’s Energy Step Code program is a voluntary provincial standard that provides a clear and consistent pathway for builders to construct energy-efficient buildings. The program is designed to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency in new construction and renovations.

The Energy Step Code program sets a series of progressively higher energy efficiency requirements, or “steps,” that builders can choose to follow. Each step represents a higher level of energy efficiency than the previous one, with Step 5 (Step 4 in Wood-Frame Residential like the Sequoia Residences at Marigold) representing net-zero energy-ready performance.

For wood-frame residential buildings, the Energy Step Code program is implemented through a series of technical requirements and performance targets. Builders are required to follow specific guidelines for insulation, air-tightness, and ventilation, as well as use energy-efficient heating and cooling systems and appliances. They must also demonstrate that their buildings meet or exceed the energy performance targets for the specific step they are building to. To demonstrate compliance, builders can use a variety of tools and methods, including energy modeling software and on-site testing. They may also work with certified energy advisors to ensure that their buildings meet the Energy Step Code requirements.

Overall, the Energy Step Code program provides a flexible and adaptable approach to building energy efficiency, with clear guidelines and performance targets that help builders create more sustainable and energy-efficient buildings.


The Province of British Columbia’s Energy Step Code program provides a framework for builders to construct energy-efficient buildings, and it also includes a certification process to verify that buildings meet the program’s requirements.

To become certified under the Energy Step Code program, a building must undergo a series of tests and evaluations to demonstrate its energy efficiency. The certification process typically involves three main steps:

Energy Modelling: Builders use energy modelling software to simulate the building’s energy performance and to determine whether it meets the performance targets for the specific step of the Energy Step Code program they are building to.

On-Site Testing: Builders may also need to conduct on-site testing, such as blower door tests, to measure the building’s air-tightness and ensure that it meets the program’s requirements.

Energy Advisor Review: Finally, a certified energy advisor reviews the building’s design, energy modelling, and testing results to ensure that it meets the Energy Step Code program’s requirements.

Once a building has successfully completed these steps, it is awarded a certification label that indicates its level of energy efficiency and compliance with the Energy Step Code program. The certification label is typically affixed to the building’s electrical panel or other visible location and serves as a visible demonstration of the building’s energy efficiency credentials.