British Columbia

British Columbia has the top rank in Canada’s first Provincial Energy Efficiency Scorecard, earning 56 out of 100 possible points.

Energy Efficiency Programs See All

Energy efficiency programs secure energy savings through various strategies such as audits, retrofits, training for building tradespeople, “people-centred” or behavioural efficiency strategies, and customized industrial programs.

Energy Efficiency Program Administration

Electricity energy efficiency programs in BC are operated by BC Hydro (a crown corporation), under the PowerSmart brand. FortisBC also administers electricity efficiency programs in the Southern Interior Region of BC. Natural gas efficiency programs are administered by the FortisBC utility, as well as Pacific Northern Gas in northern regions. All programs are overseen by the British Columbia Utilities Commission and supported by ratepayer funds.

The government's CleanBC climate plan (released in December 2018) included programs to promote switching from oil to heat pump and wood stove efficiency programs, and vehicle electrification.  Some programs are adminstered by the government, and some are adminstered by BC Hydro on behalf of the government. 

CleanBC Better Homes is an online hub to access information on programs administered by BC Hydro, FortisBC, and BC Housing. Resources include a rebate search tool, a single application process, free energy coaching services, a search tool to find EnerGuide rating system advisors and contractor directories. 

Last reviewed: October 2020

Energy Efficiency Targets

The Clean Energy Act established an objective to “to take demand-side measures and to conserve energy, including the objective of the authority reducing its expected increase in demand for electricity by the year 2020 by at least 66%” (Part 1, Section 2(b)). This target is mandated only for BC Hydro (‘the authority’), though FortisBC voluntarily adopted the target thereafter, and subsequently escalated its long-term DSM target to 80% of load growth offsetting. 

 While there are no legislated targets for natural gas efficiency savings, Section 44.1(2)(f) of the Utilities Commission Act requires utilities, other than BC Hydro, to submit resource plans which provide an explanation of why demand for energy is not planned to be replaced with demand-side measures. This has contributed to a significant increase in natural gas savings targets.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Energy Efficiency as a Resource

The BC Utilities Commission Act requires public utilities to file with the Utilities Commission a long-term resource plan that includes a plan to reduce demand by taking cost-effective measures (Sect 44.1(2)(b)).  Sect. 44.1(2)(f) of the Act requires utilities planning infrastructure to serve load to explain why demand is not planned to be met through DSM.  The Act also gives the appropriate Minister the ability to make regulations regarding whether a demand-side measure is cost-effective and adequate (Sect 125.1 (4)(3).

BC Hydro was once exempt from the requirement to explain why demand could not be met through DSM, but Bill 19-2019 ("Energy Statutes Amendment Act") removed this exemption. 

Last reviewed: October 2020

Efficiency Potential Study and Energy Planning

BC Hydro is required to submit an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to the BC Utilities Commission every five years, under the Clean Energy Act (Sect 3).  BC Hydro’s most recent IRP was released in November 2013. A review of this plan was conducted in 2016.  BC Hydro's most recent publicly-available Conservation Potential Review (CPR) was filed in the Fiscal 2017-2019 Revenue Requirements Application. An updated CPR has been completed and will be published in the utility's next IRP.

FortisBC released a long-term electricity resource plan in 2016 and a long-term natural gas resource plan in 2017.  FortisBC’s latest natural gas Conservation Potential Review (CPR) is appended to its 2017 long-term gas resource plan, and its electric CPR was issued in two parts: the Technical/Economic potential was filed with the 2016 LTERP; and the Market potential was filed with its 2019-2022 DSM plan.    

Last reviewed: October 2020

Cost-Effectiveness Testing

Tests used: Modified Total Resource Cost (mTRC) test with non-energy benefits and/or 15% benefit adder; Utility Cost Test

The “Demand Side Measures Regulation” (BC Reg 117/2017) to the Utilities Commission Act establishes rules for cost-effectiveness testing for all utilities. Cost-effectiveness can be assessed at the level of an individual measure, a portfolio of measures, or the portfolio as a whole (Section 4 (1)).

The regulation specifies that utility commissions apply a modified Total Resource Cost (mTRC) test.  The avoided cost of electricity is set to the long-run marginal cost of clean electricity (i.e., rather than spot market prices) as well.   Up to 40% of a natural gas DSM portfolio can use the mTRC as the primary cost-effectiveness test (provided it passes the Utility Cost Test). The benefits of the mTRC may also be increased to account for participant or non-energy benefits (Sect 4(1.1)(c)(i). Measures without non-energy benefits are assigned a uniform 15% benefit adder, and the entire portfolio must receive a 15% benefit adder or greater if non-energy benefits warrant it (Section 4(1.1)(c)(ii).

There are limits to the extent to which programs passing screening due to non-energy benefits are included in portfolios (section 4(1.5)). The commission can also determine that a program is not cost-effective if it fails the utility cost test (Section 4(1.8)). The regulation prohibits the screening of programs based on the ratepayer impact measure test (Section 4(6)).

Last reviewed: October 2020

Evaluation, Measurement and Verification

BC Hydro's savings are evaluated through its internal EM&V department with support by third party entities, overseen by internal evaluation committee including two external evaluation advisors. Evaluation Milestone Reports are filed with the BC Utilities Commission.

FortisBC Inc's (FBC) individual DSM programs are evaluated on rotation, primarily by 3rd party consultants according to industry best practicies. The annual savings for the entire portfolio reported in FBC's DSM Annual Reports are not specifically evaluated. The Annual Reports, including summary Evaluation reports, are submitted to the BC Utilities Commission.

Last reviewed: October 2020

Program Innovation

BC Hydro does not have a separate fund for RD&D and innovation but has led or supported a number of pilot and demonstration demand-side management programs, such as the BC Local Energy Efficiency Partnership Program (LEEP) and capacity-focused DSM activities. These initiatives are supported through other budgets such as the Codes and Standards budget, and the Capacity-focused DSM budget in the utility’s DSM plans.

FortisBC has included funding for its Innovative Technologies program in its 2019-2022 DSM Plan, ranging from $2 million in 2019 to $3.1 million in 2022. The utility also manages its InnoTech program, funding for which totals $550,000 over the same period. In addition, FortisBC received regulatory approval for the Clean Growth Innovation Fund, totaling $4.9 million over four years ($0.40 per client per year). The fund will support the company’s plan to reduce customer emissions 30% by 2030 through renewable natural gas, carbon and methane capture, energy efficiency, and fuel cell and remote power technologies.

Last reviewed: October 2020

Support for Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs

The “Demand Side Measures Regulation” (BC Reg 117/2017) to the Utilities Commission Act requires a public utility’s portfolio to include programs for low-income households and rental accommodations in order to be considered adequate (Section 3). The regulation requires regulators to consider participant and non-energy benefits and increase the benefits of particular programs (including low-income) by 40%. (Section 4(2)).

Electricity
BC Hydro and Fortis BC collaborate to administer the Energy Conservation Assistance Program (ECAP), the Energy Saving Kit (ESK) Program, and the Social Housing Retrofit Support Program (SHRSP).

Natural Gas
The ECAP and ESK also apply to natural gas customers.    FortisBC Energy also offers ‘top-ups’ to both their commercial space heat and water heater program for buildings owned or operated by a charity providing assistance to low-income persons, or a non-profit housing provider (including housing co-operatives and Indigenous Bands). The province, through the CleanBC Better Homes Program, co-funds FortisBC’s Income-Qualified incentives for energy efficient gas equipment.

Other
The CleanBC Social Housing Incentives Program provides funding to support custom electrification projects in the social housing sector.

Last reviewed: October 2020

Enabling Policies See All

Enabling policies refer to policies, regulations, and other activities that build supportive infrastructure and policy frameworks to advance energy efficiency in a province. 

Support for Financing

PACE Financing
There are no mechanisms in British Columbia for municipally financed green technology unless this technology is owned and controlled by the municipality.

Green Bonds
In September 2018, the City of Vancouver made a $85 million “green bond” offering.

The province has issued green bonds. For instance, a 2016 offering was used to build a LEED Gold certified Penticton Regional Hospital new patient care tower.

Utility and On-Bill Financing

The CleanBC Better Homes Low-interest Financing program, launched in May 2020, offers rates between 0% and 4.99% with financing from FinanceIt Canada Inc. for heat pumps in British Columbia.

FortisBC offers a Heat Pump Loan program to help customers upgrade from an electric furnace or baseboard heater to a high-efficiency air-source heat pump (see EfficiencyBC 'Financing').

Third-Party Finance
Efficiency BC highlights the RBC Energy Saver Loan, and the VanCity Home Energy Loan, and potential for financing via home improvement contractors.

Last reviewed: November 2020

Research and Development

BC Hydro has supported a number of pilot and demonstration programs in DSM, including the BC Local Energy Efficiency Partnership Program (LEEP). FortisBC included funding for its Innovative Technologies program in its 2019-2022 DSM Plan, among other funds such as the InnoTech program, and the Clean Growth Innovation Fund.

The Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund has been supporting clean energy technologies since 2008. This has included support for a variety of research projects including High Performance Windows certification, field testing of heat pump water heaters, field testing of cold climate heat pumps, natural gas heat pump prefeasibility study, modelling of the EnerGuide rating system, and the Canada ISO 50001 Implementation Incentive (industrial).

University of British Columbia is home to the UBC Pulp and Paper Research Centre, which conducts research on energy reduction and markets for mechanical pulps, which is partially supported by BC Hydro.  FortisBC supported a 5-year smart energy research chair at the University of British Columbia Okanagan.

Several other universities conduct research on energy efficiency in the province.  Between 2016 and 2019, energy efficiency research comprised 9.9% of all energy-related research supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

Last reviewed: November 2020

Lead by example

Targets
All BC public sector organizations have a legislated requirement to be carbon neutral. This requirement includes all health authorities, K-12 schools, universities and colleges, Crown corporations, core ministries and independent offices.

Each year, organizations must measure, report, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. All greenhouse gases emitted must be offset. A select number of organizations undergo a verification process to ensure their application of the quantification methodologies, monitoring equipment measurements and calculations are accurate.

The Climate Action Secretariat, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, facilitates organizations' actions with an online greenhouse gas inventory and reporting tool, and with guidance materials on greenhouse gas quantification and emission reduction strategies.

An update on progress was published in 2017.

Buildings
BC committed to reducing public sector building emissions by 50%  by 2030. 

Since 2010, new public sector buildings have been built to LEED Gold certification or equivalent. The BC Energy Step Code outlines a pathway to net-zero energy ready buildings, and the public sector is investigating how best to implement the Step Code to public sector buildings, including hospitals and clinics, schools, campuses and office buildings.

Carbon neutral government initiatives promote behavioural changes that conserve energy such as use of video conferencing rather than travel and promoting bike to work week.

Public sector buildings also undergo retrofits regularly and achieve energy efficiency improvements by taking advantage of latest proven technologies. The public sector is encouraged to considering using wood in new building construction, in part to reduce embodied carbon in buildings.

Vehicles
The public sector carbon neutrality requirement includes fleet emissions within scope. Organizations must report on emissions from all fleet vehicles, include marine, transit and school buses, off-road and road vehicles. Emissions from transit and school buses do not have to be offset.

BC recently signed onto the Express Lane of the West Coast Electric Vehicle Pledge. This pledge commits BC to have 10% of light duty vehicle purchases to be electric vehicles. Additionally, BC committed to reducing emissions from its fleet vehicles by 40% 2030 in CleanBC. 

Last reviewed: August 2019

Grid Modernization

Advanced metering
The 2010 BC Clean Energy Act (section 17) called for a program to installed advanced meters by the end of 2012. BC Hydro launched a program in July 2011.  A 2013 Direction to the British Columbia Utilities Commission set standards and conditions under which electricity consumers in the province can continue to use a legacy meter or choose to use a “radio-off” smart meter, rather than the standard smart meter model.

As of December 2016, over 99% of BC Hydro households have a new smart meter installed. FortisBC Inc. (FBC - electric utility) completed it's AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) installation program in 2015.   Fortis BC Energy Inc. (FEI - natural gas utility) does not currently have advanced metering in place for any but its largest commercial / industrial customers.

BC Hydro operates a behaviour program for residential customers and optimization programs for business customers. FortisBC provides the opportunity for customers to install in-home displays so they can observe their real-time energy use data. In 2019 FBC started a Demand Response pilot for C&I customers, that allowed participating customers to see their load profiles and their response to DR events.

Non-wires alternatives
Electricity

BC Hydro includes an estimate of the capacity savings resulting from the energy efficiency initiatives in the DSM Plan as part of its load forecast after DSM and as a result these reductions are inherent in the consideration of transmission and distribution planning.  An estimate of the value from transmission and distribution capacity savings is included in the cost effectiveness of DSM expenditures. In addition, BC Hydro has formed an integrated planning working group, whose function is to utilize cross-business members to develop and assess alternative proposals to address local area capacity needs.   

BC Hydro also has active pilot projects underway to test the use of demand response and geo-targeted energy efficiency to reduce peak load requirements to avoid potential substation upgrades.  The capacity focused DSM pilots use hubs linked to the customers smart meter data and combine control of connected home devices.  BC Hydro also operates a Behaviour Program for residential customers and optimization offers for business customers that make use of enhanced customer energy usage data. 

FortisBC considers non-wires alternatives on a project by project basis in its certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) filings.  FortisBC has also developed and utilizes a deferred capital expenditure factor to put an economic value on its DSM capacity savings.

The utility is currently undertaking a demand response pilot program in a region that is experiencing summer capacity constraints.

Natural Gas
FortisBC Energy is exploring the potential of gas DSM programs to defer or avoid infrastructure through its integrated resource planning but does not yet have metering in place to thoroughly examine and analyze opportunities.

Conservation voltage reduction
BC Hydro includes var-volt optimization on its system in the development of the load forecast after DSM.  FortisBC has tested and utilized CVR on a regional basis for grid stability purposes, though not for the primary purpose of achieving energy savings. 

Rate design
Block Rates: Residential rates and some commercial rates charge a higher energy charge above a certain consumption threshold.   BC Hydro also has a 2-step rate for transmission service customers, wherein the second step is intended to represent the long-run marginal cost for new electric energy.  FortisBC has applied for and received BCUC approval to migrate its residential stepped rate back to a uniform flat rate structure over five years.

Power factor surcharge: BC Hydro Medium and Large General Service Rate customers receive a power factor surcharge for lower efficiency customers (if ratio of active power measured in kW to reactive power measured in kVar drops below 90%).

Electric Vehicle Charging. BC Reg 36/2018 to the Strata Property Act enables variable user fees in “strata housing” where owners own individual lots as well as common property and assets in common. This enables charging for electricity usage from charging electric vehicles.  The BCUC is currently leading a review of public charging for EVs, including rates.

Fortis BC has an electric vehicle charging rate ($9.00 per 30 minute period).

Last reviewed: November 2020

Carbon Pricing

BC implemented a carbon tax within its 2008/9 budget, starting at $10 per tonne and increasing to $30/tonne in 2012. The carbon tax is a broad-based tax that applies to the purchase or use of fuels, such as gasoline, diesel, natural gas, heating oil, propane and coal, unless a specific exemption applies (for information on specific exemptions, see our exemptions page). The use of fuels includes all uses, even if the fuel is not combusted. Carbon tax also applies to the use of combustibles, such as peat and tires, when used to produce heat or energy.

In 2019, B.C.'s carbon tax rate rose to $40 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (tCO2e). The tax rate was expected to increase each year by $5 per tonne until it reaches $50 per tonne in 2021, but it has been frozen indefinitely due to COVID-19.  Beginning in the 2019 fiscal year, the portion of carbon tax revenues generated from industry above $40/t will be used to fund industrial emissions reduction support programs, through the CleanBC Program for Industry.

Last reviewed: November 2020

Buildings See All

Buildings are a significant and often neglected component of Canada’s infrastructure, and high-performance buildings are important for our quality of life, physical and mental health, and economic productivity

Building Codes

Building Code – Housing and Small Buildings
The Building Act was passed in the spring of 2015, which sets the provincial building code as the minimum standard in all municipalities except in the City of Vancouver, federal lands and reserves.

The 2018 edition of the BC Building Code references the 2015 version of the National Building Code, which includes energy performance requirements for housing and small buildings. This code was adopted in July 2018 and entered into force in December 2018.

Building Code – Large Buildings
The Building Act was passed in the spring of 2015, which sets the provincial building code as the minimum standard in all municipalities except in the City of Vancouver, federal lands and reserves.

The 2018 edition of the BC Building Code references the National Energy Code for Buildings 2015, and the ANSI/ASHRAE 90.1-2016 “Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings”. This code was adopted in July 2018 and entered into force in December 2018.

A relaxation to ASHRAE 90.1 was incorporated in the BCBC 2018, for Subsection 8.4.2. of ASHRAE 90.1-2016. The requirement to comply with Subsection 8.4.2. of the ASHRAE 90.1 standard, regarding automatic receptacle control for 50% of receptacles in most spaces, and 25% branch feeders for modular furniture that are not part of the construction documents. Clause 10.2.2.1.(1)(a) is amended to reduce compliance costs for buildings, where compliance may be costly and defeated very easily (e.g. using power bars plugged into uncontrolled outlets).

Stretch or Step Codes
The BC Building Code was amended in April 2017 to include the BC Energy Step Code, which presents progressive targets for energy efficiency performance in new buildings. Municipalities can write by-laws or implement policies and programs that require new buildings in one of their municipalities to be constructed to one of the steps in the BC Energy Step Code. There are four steps for large buildings, and five steps for houses and small buildings. Every step is evaluated using the same tests and metrics.

The BC Energy Step Code was revised in December 2018 to:

  • Facilitate BC Energy Step Code compliance for smaller buildings and in colder climates;
  • Address issues where large single-family dwellings could comply with Steps 2 or 3 without an improvement over the base BCBC;
  • Remove Peak Thermal Load as a compliance path for the BC Energy Step Code;
  • Facilitate compliance with the BC Energy Step Code where cooling is intended for the building;
  • Enable airtightness compliance with the BC Energy Step Code through the EnerGuide Rating System;
  • Enable the BC Energy Step Code as a compliance path for Part 3 buildings outside of Climate Zone 4;
  • Create new BC Energy Step Code targets for Hotels and Motels, and for Offices;
  • Revise air leakage rates for Part 3 buildings complying with the BC Energy Step Code at the design stage in energy models;
  • Clarification on the use of the City of Vancouver Energy Modelling Guidelines (CoV EMG) where it conflicts with the National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB) for compliance with the BC Energy Step Code;
  • A new requirement to report on the floor area of conditioned space for BC Energy Step Code buildings on house performance compliance calculation reports; and
  • A clarification for Part 3 buildings that BC Energy Step Code recording requirements apply both at the pre-construction and pre-occupancy stage.

Building Code changes taking effect Dec 12, 2019 include

  • Removal of restrictions on the size and construction of secondary suites, which could promote densification and housing affordability
  • Allowance of 12-storey wood buildings, an increase from the previous 6 storey limit, which enables the use of sustainable building materials

Net-zero energy ready commitment
BC has committed to mandate a net-zero energy ready standard for new buildings by 2032. The final steps in the BC Energy Step Code meet the net-zero energy ready standard.

Last reviewed: August 2020

Building Code Compliance

The province and BC Hydro conducted a compliance study in 2015. The study surveyed building officials and building professionals, and estimated a 60% compliance rate, and a 79% compliance rate amongst the buildings that the respondents were engaged with.

British Columbia was also able to provide evidence of dedicated resources for energy code compliance. The provincial government estimated that one full-time equivalent staff position was dedicated to energy code compliance. Utility involvement is also enabled through the requirement for utilities to spend a minimum of 1% of their budgets on codes and standards, through the Demand Side Measures Regulation. BC Hydro estimated that approximately $300,000 for codes and standards relates to compliance activities.

In addition, British Columbia has activity in all compliance categories. These activities were largely related to the policy framework and engagement around the Energy Step Code. Relevant activities include:

Training and Technical Assistance

  • Provincial energy coaches to support local government compliance efforts.
  • In-person and on-line courses through Energy Foundations Program with Building Officials of British Columbia
  • Energy Step Code Handbook for Building Officials

Utility Involvement

  • Technical support for Energy Step Code Council subcommittee
  • Utilities co-funding local government building officials with energy code compliance workplans
  • Support for training and educational materials for industry

Compliance Tools

  • Building Energy Requirements Tool enables easier compliance review for permitting by Areas Having Jurisdiction (AHJ)
  • Checklists for energy modellers and design professionals to verify compliance

Stakeholder Group or Collaborative

  • The BC Energy Step Code Council includes a “Compliance and Energy Advisor Subcommittee”

Gap Analysis

Competency framework and gap analysis developed through the Energy Foundations Program

Last reviewed: August 2020

Home Energy Rating and Disclosure

Mandatory home energy rating and disclosure: No (under consideration)
Home energy labelling voluntary or pilot program: Yes

The Clean BC Climate Action Plan states that the province is exploring energy rating requirements “at the point of sale or lease”. The plan discusses stakeholder consultation and the goal of making energy rating requirements “as simple and inexpensive at possible”.

The City of Vancouver has mandatory home rating at time of construction and retrofit. Several municipalities who have adopted BC Step Code have mandatory rating for new homes.

Rateourhome.ca is a pilot project that allows residents of Metro Vancouver to voluntarily display EnerGuide ratings online on a home energy map. The campaign is funded by the Homeowner Protection Office and Metro Vancouver and by Natural Resources Canada through the Energy Star for New Homes Program.

Last reviewed: August 2020

Building Energy Rating and Disclosure

Mandatory large building energy rating and disclosure: No
Voluntary building benchmarking and transparency program: Yes

BC Hydro has an energy benchmarking program for commercial and residential properties with at least 20 units, using the Energy Star Portfolio Manager Web Service.

BC Hydro operates Energy Management Assessment workshops in the province. Targeting large properties, these are diagnostic workshops for senior building managers and produce a detailed report on energy management opportunities for an organization. BC Hydro collaborates with energy managers to provide the resources needed to implement recommendations of the report and to develop implementation action plans. This program benchmarks facilities within the same industry and provides an annual review to track progress for the organization.

Some municipalities require mandatory energy and GHG reporting for new buildings.  For instance, the City of Vancouver and municipalities using the BC Energy Step Code require new buildings to upload basic building information and estimated energy and GHG emissions into Energy Star Portfolio Manager.

The Clean BC Climate Action Plan states that the province is exploring energy rating requirements “at the point of sale or lease”. The plan discusses stakeholder consultation and the goal of making energy rating requirements “as simple and inexpensive at possible”.  This includes requirements for larger buildings.

A BC-wide voluntary benchmarking and disclosure program was launched in 2019, and is managed by OPEN, with support from NRCan, BC Hydro, and local governments. 

Last reviewed: August 2020

Appliance and Equipment Market Transformation
Space Heating Windows Water Heating
Research and development FortisBC, BC Hydro, NRCan and the provincial government collaborated on a field study of sizing, specification, and installation practices for cold-climate heat pumps. The provincial government “High Performance Window Certification Program” provides funding to manufactures to offset research and development costs. -
Pilots and demonstrations The Esk’etemc First Nation partnered with The Government of Canada, First Nations Health Authority, Interior Health Authority, and BC Housing to fund and construct the Alkali Lake Health and Wellness centre, meeting Net-Zero Energy Ready labelling requirements. BC Hydro also provided support. - FortisBC, BC Hydro, NRCan and the province conducted a field study of in-situ heat pump water heaters in 2019.
Information and awareness BC Hydro has been engaged in the development of EXP-07, the CSA standard for heat pumps. Finalization of this standard precedes product listing, sizing, and selection tools. The CleanBC Better Homes Program requires energy performance rating for windows, consistent with CSA and NFRC product standards, and the Energy Star program. All windows sold in the province are subject to labelling requirements. BC Hydro, CleanBC, and FortisBC use qualified product lists developed by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.
Technology and installation training FortisBC, BC Hydro, the Province of British Columbia (CleanBC), and the Home performance Stakeholder Council support contractor training on quality installation and are developing a Program Registered contractor directory that will be mandatory for rebate program participation Members of the Home Performance Stakeholder Council support windows installation quality training and consultation with Fenestration BC FortisBC works with water heater equipment manufactures to demonstrate new products but relies on them for installation guidelines.
Upstream or downstream incentives

BC Hydro, FortisBC, and the Province of British Columbia offer downstream incentives.

Through CleanBC, the province provides installer incentives for heat pumps.

The High Performance Window Certification Program provides funding for manufacturers to certify new ENERGY STAR® “Most Efficient” and “Passive House” product lines. Utilities and the province provide downstream incentives.
Regulation, codes and standards Energy efficiency requirements for heat pumps are regulated in Amendment 6 to the BC Energy Efficiency Standards Regulation. Higher energy efficiency requirements on windows, doors, skylights are regulated in Amendment 6 and the proposed Amendment 7 to the BC Energy Efficiency Standards Regulation. The province has proposed an amendment to the Energy Efficiency Standards Regulation that would introduce residential and commercial gas boiler standards, including combination boilers serving domestic and service hot water.

Last reviewed: August 2020

Appliance and Equipment Standards

BC regulates appliance and equipment under the Energy Efficiency Standards Regulation (EESR) (BC Reg 14/2015) under the Energy Efficiency Act.

Recent changes under B.C. Reg 29/2018, deposited on March 6, 2018, added new and updated standards for gas fireplaces, residential heat pumps, general service lighting, fenestration and consumer electronic products. Since 2006 BC has regulated several products, including commercial boilers, fluorescent ballasts, line voltage thermostats, water heaters, windows, doors, and skylights, clothes washers and dishwashers, and small battery charging systems.

In 2019 the Province published regulatory impact statements and held public consultations for a proposed seventh amendment to the Energy Efficiency Standards Regulation. The propose amendment would introduce new standards for computers and monitors, updated standard for residential windows, a new standard for residential gas boilers, and an updated standard for commercial gas boilers. The proposed amendment also includes harmonization of the refrigerators, freezers and combination refrigerator-freezer standards with the federal government. 

Last reviewed: August 2020

Efficiency Requirements for Government Supported Housing

New Construction projects supported by BC Housing have standards based on the BC Energy Step Code. Buildings 3 stories or less must meet step 4; larger buildings less than 7 stories must meet step 2-4, depending on climate zone, and buildings 7 stories or greater must meet step 2-3, depending on climate zone.

A 30-point housing plan was released in February 2018 as part of the provincial budget, which included investing $1.1 billion over 10 years to retrofit affordable housing. It was announced in November 2018 that $400 M of this is dedicated to improving energy efficiency.

CleanBC also administers two programs to support energy efficiency retrofits and in new construction of social housing, which complement similar programs administered by provincial utilities.

Last reviewed: August 2018

Transportation See All

Policies tracked in the transporation area reflect the potential energy savings of closer integration of private transportation with buildings and electricity grids. 

Zero-Emission Vehicles Mandate

There is a mandate for 100% of new cars to be ZEV by 2040, 30% ZEV by 2030 and 10% by 2025.

Budget 2019 dedicated $3 M to implementation of the ZEV standard. Regulations were introduced to enforce the ZEV mandate in July 2020, which introduced phased targets that will need to be met each year, as well as compliance requirements.

Last reviewed: August 2020

Electric Vehicle Charging Program

As part of its larger Clean Energy Vehicles for BC program (CEV for BC), the province administers two separate support initiatives for private and public charging station deployment: a Go Electric Program (formerly called the  Charging Solutions and Incentives Program) for residential and Level 2 public charging stations, and a Fast DC Charger Program, in partnership with NRCAN, BC Hydro, local governments and academic institutions. As of March 2020, the programs combined have supported the construction of 1,300 residential and public charging stations, including over 80 DCFC stations.  For fiscal 2021, 16 new BC Hydro dual DCFC stations are being built, and 15 single DCFC stations are being upgraded to dual DCFC stations.

Budget 2020 dedicated $2 M to support new public fast-charging and hydrogen fueling stations, $5 M for home/workplace charging, and an additional $5 million is provided to continue incentives for zero-emission buses and heavy-duty vehicles, including trucks, port and airport ground equipment, and marine vessels.

In addition to provincial activities, FortisBC installed about 20 EV Charging stations in “underserved” communities in 2019.

Last reviewed: August 2020

EV and PHEV Financial Incentives

The Clean Energy Vehicles for British Columbia (CEV for BC) Program has offered point of sale incentives since November 2011. Consumers are eligible for $3,000 off the price of a battery electric, fuel-cell electric, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, a reduced incentive from 2019, when it was $5,000. The program recognizes significant sales by car dealerships through the “Green Star Awards”.  In its 2020 Budget, the provincial government allocated $20m to support the continuation of the Go Electric Program, light-duty fleet adoption of ZEVs, and incentives for medium and heavy-duty vehicles.

The SCRAP-IT programs provides up to $6,000 incentive for a new electric car or up to $3,000 for a used electric car, when trading in an old gas car. Participants are also eligible for electric bikes, cash, mobility scooters, transit passes, and car share credits.

The Speciality Use Vehicle Incentive program offers $2,000-$5,000 for vehicles such as electric motorcycles, forklifts and low-speed vehicles.

Last reviewed: August 2020

“EV Ready” Building Code

British Columbia clarified in 2016 that EV charging infrastructure was a matter ‘out of scope’ of the provincial Building Act. ‘Out of scope’ is defined as “matters… local government can regulate… if they have authority to do so in other statutes.” This clarification thus gives local governments greater flexibility and confidence in making decisions regarding the use of EV charging in new developments.

A number of municipal governments in BC have revised by-laws to require EV charging in new builds and requirements for EV-ready stalls in multi-unit buildings. For details by municipality, see https://pluginbc.ca/policy/

Last reviewed: August 2020

Industry See All

In recognition that the industrial sector is highly varied across Canada, this database tracks policies that are broadly applicable to all industrial subsectors and provinces.

Energy Management

BC Hydro administers the Strategic Energy Management: Industrial program, which consists of several sub-programs: the industrial energy manager program (supporting energy management assessments and/or energy monitoring and targeting, i.e., EMIS); the regional energy manager program, and employee awareness program, and the industrial cohort program. Different program streams are available dependent on facility size. A regional energy manager program is available for facilities that use 0.5-4 GWh of electricity/year, programs for an industrial cohort (4-20 GWh/year), and industrial energy managers are available for 10 GWh/year or more. The SEM cohort program provides a performance incentive based on verified savings.

The Government of British Columbia has also collaborated with Natural Resources Canada to incentivize the implementation of energy management systems complying with the ISO 50001 standard. This program provides up to $80,000, or 75%, of cost-shared assistance to BC industry to implement ISO 50001-energy management system. Certification is not a required component of this program.

Last reviewed: August 2020

Co-generation / Combined Heat and Power

Though there is no formal policy support or programs to facilitate CHP in industrial settings, BC Hydro does have a transmission service rate that could act as an incentive to install generation for large industrial consumers.

Last reviewed: August 2019

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