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 Province's CleanBC climate plan (released in December 2018 and added to continuously) included programs to promote switching from oil to heat pump, wood stove efficiency programs, vehicle electrification, indigenous and remote community electrification, supports for commercial and residential retrofits, setting targets for renewable natural gas, supports for industrial electrification and carbon capture & storage, supports for organic waste landfill diversion, and incentives for clean energy training programs. Some programs are administered by the government, while some are adminstered by BC Hydro on behalf of the government. All programs are supported with taxpayer and industry sector funds (via the carbon tax or certain energy sales).

CleanBC is an online hub to access information on programs administered by BC Hydro, FortisBC, and BC Housing. A rebate search tool for homes and electric vehicles, a single application process, free energy coaching services, a search tool to find EnerGuide rating system advisors and contractor directories, and information hubs for the Better Buildings program, Industry programs, Clean Transportation, Emissions from Waste, and Clean Energy jobs are among the resources available

Last reviewed: September 2021

Energy Efficiency Targets

British Columbia’s 2008 Clean Energy Act set an objective for BC Hydro to reduce its expected increase in demand by at least 66% between 2008 and 2020 through energy efficiency and conservation. There are no legislated targets for natural gas savings. However, FortisBC voluntarily adopted this target, and subsequently increased it to 80%. 

Last reviewed: Ocotober 2021

Energy Efficiency as a Resource

The BC Utilities Commission Act requires utilities to consider cost-effective demand-side measures first, and to explain to the regulator why subsequently proposed supply-side investments could not be met with demand-side management. The 2019 Energy Statutes Amendment Act removed BC Hydro’s former exemption from this requirement.

Last reviewed: October 2020

Efficiency Potential Study and Energy Planning

Under the Clean Energy Act, BC Hydro is required to submit an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to the BC Utilities Commission every five years (Sect 3). The most current IRP for BC Hydro was published in November 2013. In 2016, a review of this strategy was undertaken. A revised conservation potential study has been developed and will be included in the utility's next IRP, scheduled to be filed with the regulator in December 2021.

FortisBC released a long-term electricity resource plan in 2016 and a long-term natural gas resource plan in 2017. Their 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.

FortisBC will be completing an updated CPR for both gas and electric utilities in 2021. The electric utility will be completing the LTERP in 2021 and the long-term gas resource plan is to be submitted by March 2022.

Last reviewed: October 2021

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 2021

Evaluation, Measurement and Verification

BC Hydro's savings are assessed by its own EM&V department, with assistance from third-party organizations, and are monitored by an internal assessment committee composed of three external evaluation advisers. The BC Utilities Commission receives and reviews evaluation milestone reports.

FortisBC Inc's (FBC) individual DSM programs are evaluated on rotation, primarily by 3rd party consultants according to industry best practices. 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 2021

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 2021

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

The province allocated $2 million in economic recovery funding for the development of a PACE Roadmap and Pilot Program in September 2020.

The District of Saanich is developing a PACE/LIC pilot program with funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Real Estate Foundation of BC

Programs

CleanBC Better Homes Low-interest Financing program offers financing for heat pumps ranging from $1,000 to $40,000, a 60-month amortization period, and rates between 0% and 4.99% (depending on the efficiency of the heat pump). Further details are available here: https://betterhomesbc.ca/rebates/financing/

FortisBC offers a Heat Pump Loan program to help customers upgrade from an electric furnace or baseboards to a high-efficiency air-source heat pump. Participants can borrow up to $6,500 at 1.9% interest. Further details are available here: https://www.fortisbc.com/rebates/home/air-source-heat-pump-loan

Green bonds

FortisBC announced in July 2020 it would complete a public offering of a Green Bond. Under the company’s Green Bond Framework, proceeds from such bonds can be used to finance or refinance new or existing projects offering tangible environmental benefits. Eligible project categories include renewable energy; renewable natural gas; energy efficiency; pollution prevention and control; and clean transportation.

On July 9, 2020, FortisBC Energy (the natural gas subsidiary of FortisBC) issued a $200 million, 30-year bond. These funds were used to support renewable natural gas projects (~$7 million), demand-side management initiatives (~$177 million), and incentives for natural gas use in on-road transportation vehicles and LNG marine vessels (~$15 million) incurred up to 36 months prior to the bond issuance.

Last reviewed: October 2021

Research and Development

Dedicated innovation funding

The BC government maintained a Building Innovation Fund ($8m in 2020-2021) to promote innovation in design, construction practices, systems, and materials/technologies.

FortisBC included funding for an Innovative Technology program in its current DSM plan, alongside other funds such as the InnoTech program, and the Clean Growth Innovation Fund.

Pilots, projects and demonstrations

BC Hydro supported several pilot and demonstration programs in DSM, including the BC Local Energy Efficiency Partnership Program (LEEP) and piloting a demand response management system.

FortisBC launched commercial gas heat pump and residential gas heat pump pilot programs and plans to launch a rebate program in 2021 to provide incentives for water and space heating applications of commercial gas heat pumps.

Program innovation

BC Hydro is participating in a number of activities to support and facilitate the province's electrification objectives, in part through building energy retrofits.

Beginning in 2021, FortisBC will conduct a two-year study of deep energy retrofit pilots for residential and commercial buildings, and intends to partner with NRCan, the City of Kelowna and Lightspark to geo-spacially model building energy intensities.

Last reviewed: November 2021

Lead by example

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

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.

Energy use and benchmarking for core-government buildings is managed by the government’s facilities management outsourced service partner’s platforms. BC Public Sector is carbon neutral since 2008. Under this program, the BC government tracks energy consumption metrics like actual consumption, weather normalized consumption and building energy performance index (BEPI) internally then this information is shared with Climate Action Secrectariat's (Min. of Environment & Climate change Strategy) Clean Government Reporting Tool and Carbon Neutral Action Reports.

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

BC committed to reducing emissions from its fleet vehicles by 40% 2030 in CleanBC, which will largely be achieved by right-sizing and electrification.

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: November 2021

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.

Both BC Hydro and FortisBC reported widespread coverage (>99%) of two-way metering infrastructure in both residential and non-residential rate classes. FortisBC Energy Inc., (natural gas) does not have advanced metering in place for any but its largest commercial / industrial customers, though an application to install AMI for all customers was made to the BCUC in May 2021.

Non-wires alternatives
BC Hydro's pilot work on selected substations is informing the development of a Non-Wires Alternative (NWA) framework, which is expected to provide potential alternatives to traditional capital-build solutions in substations to meet local / regional needs.

In 2020, BC Hydro’s activities reflected a continuation of pilots and trials initiated in previous years. The pilots and trials have focused on managing peak loads on the system.

All the technologies and processes BC Hydro is testing are proven, commercially available products, but their application is new and innovative to BC Hydro’s system. The aim of the work is to inform program design (e.g., demand response trials, localised DSM pilots, connected home product trials, and distributed energy resource management systems).

FortisBC is exploring partnering with the City of Kelowna, NRCan and other partners to geo-spatially model building energy intensities, which could support geo-targeting of neighborhoods for community retrofit plans. The utility also recently completed a demand-response pilot targeting large consumers and identified opportunities for a manually dispatched demand response program. In 2021, FortisBC launched a residential demand response program that will be completed in 2022.

Conservation voltage reduction
BC Hydro currently runs VVO in energy conservation mode on 50 stations, optimizing voltages for almost half of distribution feeders and covering some of the largest distribution substations. In 2020, BC Hydro estimated it achieved approximately 189 GWh of energy savings through these activities, which are not considered in the utility's DSM plan.

Last reviewed: November 2021

Carbon Pricing

BC launched the CleanBC Program for Industry in 2019, funded by the incremental carbon tax above $30 per tonne as paid by industry. There are two components: a CleanBC Industry Fund, which invests a portion of revenues into businesses working on emission reduction projects; and the CleanBC Industrial Incentive Program (CIIP), which reduces carbon tax costs for operators that can demonstrate world-leading emissions performance. Energy efficiency improvements are eligible under the Industry Fund, though the province did not report the amount of funding for energy efficiency improvements in 2020.

Last reviewed: November 2021

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

There is no provincial mandatory rating program, however, 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.

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. 

As noted previously, under the Step Code, NEW buildings must undergo energy modelling and airtightness testing. For Part 9 residential buildings following the EnerGuide Rating System path, this typically results in an EnerGuide label for the home. 

Note: Despite the above, under the Step Code, NEW buildings must undergo energy modelling and airtightness testing. For Part 9 buildings following the EnerGuide Rating System path, this typically results in an EnerGuide label for the home. 

Also: Government mandate item from Nov 2020 is to "require realtors to provide energy efficiency information on listed homes to incent energy-saving upgrades and let purchasers know what energy bills they will face." Work is in progress on this. See https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/government/ministries-organizations/premier-cabinet-mlas/minister-letter/robinson_mandate_2020_mar_fin.pdf.

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.  

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”. 1 This includes requirements for larger buildings.

Last reviewed: November 2021

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. The most recent amendment was published February 16, 2021.

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: November 2021

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

British Columbia originally announced its intention to pass a ZEV mandate by 2020 in its Fall 2018 CleanBC climate strategy.

The Zero-Emission Vehicles Act, passed in May 2019, implements a credit/debit system for auto manufacturers, requiring them to meet an escalating annual percentage of new light-duty ZEV sales and leases. The targets were 10% by 2025, 30% by 2030, and 100% by 2040.

In July 2020 the province introduced regulations for the Act, which included phased targets to be met each year, as well as compliance requirements.

In October 2021, the province released its CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 plan, which raises targets to 26% by 2026, 90%% by 2030, and 100% by 2035. 

Last reviewed: November 2021

Electric Vehicle Charging Program

As part of the larger CleanBC Go Electric Program, the Province administers two separate programs for private and public charging station deployment. In September 2020, the Province launched the CleanBC Go Electric Public Charger program. Applicants can receive up to 50% of the cost of equipment and installation to a maximum of $80,000 per fast-charging station. Increased rebates of up to 90% of projects costs to a maximum of $130,000 per station are also available for Indigenous-owned fast-charging stations. At the end of 2020, there were 205 public DC fast charging sites representing 480 DC fast charging stations in BC. In addition there are over 2,100 recorded public Level 2 charging sites (with multiple stations per site). (The NRCan database is not up-to-date.)

BC has also partnered with the federal government such that successful applicants to the Natural Resources Canada ZEVIP program automatically receive the Go Electric Public Charger Rebate for stations in B.C.

The CleanBC EV Charger Rebate Program provides rebates for homes, MURBS and workplaces to install Level 2 charging stations. Homeowners can get up to $350 in rebates to install a Level 2 charging sation in a single-family home. Up to $2,000 is avaliable for the installation of a Level 2 charging station at a MURB or workplace. EV Ready rebates became avaliable in December 2020 which provide rebates for apartment and condo buildings to complete an EV ready plan, install electrical infrastructure to implement the EV Ready plan and install charging stations. Up to $97,000 in rebates per apartment or condo is available.

From January to December 2020, under the Private Charger Rebate program, 2,468 home EV charging stations were installed, 377 MURB EV charging stations were installed and 301 workplace EV charging stations were installed.

Last reviewed: November 2021

EV and PHEV Financial Incentives

Consumer incentives

British Columbia introduced programs to support zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) uptake beginning in 2011. The CleanBC Go Electric Passenger Vehicle rebate program has been in operation since November 2011, and offfers direct-to-consumer, point-of-purchase rebates. Consumers are eligible for $3,000 off of the purchase price of a battery electric, fuel-cell electric, or longer range plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. A $1,500 rebate is also avaliable for the purchase or lease of a shorter-range plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. In 2020 there were 15,451 new ZEVs registered in BC which represents 9.4% of all new light-duty vehicle registrations in BC. (Data source, IHS Markit for light-duty vehicles. Note the last Efficiency Canada report displayed incorrect data.)

The SCRAP-IT programs offers rebates when you scrap an old vehicle in BC. EV purchasers apply for the rebate via the Scrap-It website. Rebates are avaliable for up to $6,000 for a new EV or up to $3,000 for a used EV. Participants are also eligible for rebates towards electric bikes, transit passes, car share credits, or cash rebates.

The CleanBC Go Electric Speciality Use Vehicle Incentive (SUVI) program provides rebates direct-to-consumer for ZEV adoption in a variety of applications including motorcycles, low-speed vehicles, electric cargo bikes, utility vehicles and a variery of medium and heavy duty vehicles. After purchasing an eligible vehicle participants can apply for rebates under the program. Up to $100,000 in rebates can recieved - rebate amounts differ depending on vehicle type.

Commercial / Fleet electrification Incentives

The province launched its CleanBC Go Electric Fleets Program in early 2021; it is intended to support public and private owners of light-duty fleets transition to ZEVs. The program takes a multi-pronged approach to address various barriers to ZEV adoption in fleets via financial and technical support. The province offers rebates to B.C.-registered companies, Indigenous and local governments, and public sector organizations with light-duty fleet vehicles. B.C. Ministries and Crown Corporations are ineligible. Indigenous communities and businesses are eligible for increased rebates for some of the program offers.

In the medium/heavy-duty vehicle space, British Columbia also offers commercial fleet managers a Specialty Use Vehicle Incentive, which offers rebates on the purchase of eligible ZEVs that do not fit into the light-duty vehicle/passenger vehicle rebate program. Finally, the province also has the Go Electric Commercial Vehicle Pilot Program, which offers up to one-third funding for the costs of piloting medium/heavy-duty and off-road ZEVs and infrastructure in commercial fleets in B.C. (including marine ports, airports, trucking, tourism, forestry, etc.)

Last reviewed: November 2021

“EV Ready” Building Code

British Columbia is the only province that has explicitly defined EV chargers as “out of scope” for its Provincial Building Code Act. Out of scope is defined as “matters…local government can regulate…if they have authority to do so in other statutes.” This is important, and a valuable decision for other provinces to follow, as it gives municipalities the clear permission to implement EV charging in their bylaws.

The City of Vancouver has its own building code but has also chosen to adopt EV charging requirements in its parking bylaws. The bylaw requires residential and commercial parking spaces to be equipped with a set number of EV ready parking spaces, in addition to requirements for new dwellings with garages, that must be equipped with EV charging capability. The bylaw offers developers two tiers to base their installation around, with varying levels of power required, under the assumption that drivers will charge their vehicles around the city.

BC Hydro provided coaching for the implementation of EV-ready bylaws and supported the development of an updated best practice guide on EV-ready requirements for both residential and non-residential new buildings. It is also piloting the concept of E-Mobility Managers. These full-time staff will be responsible for advancing transportation electrification within local governments using available levers such as community plans, land use plans, policy and bylaws, zoning, permitting, and building code compliance

Last reviewed: November 2021

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 has a Strategic Energy Management offering for industry, which includes an industrial energy manager program for large industrial consumers, and a cohort option for medium-sized industrial customers (based on annual electricity consumption). The utility also provides a sub-offer called the Energy Monitoring and Targeting Level 2. This allows for energy managers to set savings targets for facilities. BC Hydro will pay up to $80,000 in facility monitoring, specific system monitoring, and/or advanced modelling to help organizations meet their energy targets. FortisBC provides additional support to program participants that are also natural gas customers. BC Hydro’s SEM programs are aligned with ISO 50001 requirements, but do not require certification. Additional support is available for participants that wish to pursue certification.

In 2021, FortisBC launched its own SEM program in its electric service territory, for both electric and natural gas customers.

Between 2015 and 2020, the provincial government provided matching funding to federal incentives for companies developing energy management systems under the B.C. - Natural Resources Canada ISO-50001 Implementation Incentive (up to a total combined $80,000 of funding). The program did not require ISO 50001 certification yet was informed by its requirements. As of October 2020, the government reported the program as fully enrolled and had stopped accepting applications.

Last reviewed: November 2021

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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