New energy regs on hold

August 29, 2018

The City of Kelowna has put a new provincially-mandated energy reduction program for new construction on hold.

City council made the move Monday in order to get a cost analysis being prepared by the Canadian Home Builders Association.

Known as the Energy Step Code, the new regulations would require some new construction be net zero energy-ready by 2032.

These would include single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes, townhomes and some small apartment buildings.

“The prescriptions offer a rough guess as to how a building might perform,” said energy specialist Ashley Lubyk.

“The performance-based approach allows building performance to be calculated and shared with prospective home buyers so they know exactly what they are getting, just as they know when they buy a new refrigerator, washing machine or a new car.”

Lubyk says certain targets would have to be met during each of the five steps in the process.

He says the first step in mainly educational, requiring builders to show air-tightness testing without having to hit a hard target.

Steps 2 and 3 would require a 10 to 20 per cent increase in energy efficiency respectively while the final two steps would mean an additional 40 to 80 per cent in increased efficiency.

The province is mandating all new buildings reach the third step by 2022, however, getting there is the responsibility of each municipality.

Lubyk is recommending the city begin with Step 1 in April of next year, then move straight to Step 3 in October of 2020.

Before making that determination, council will wait for the CHBA cost-analysis.

“Affordability is an issue in our community,” said Coun. Brad Sieben is asking for the deferral.

“Understanding there is some long-term benefits, but if it’s front-loaded, it is a concern. I want to see what that cost analysis is.”