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 utility programs are overseen by the British Columbia Utilities Commission and supported by ratepayer funds.

The Province's CleanBC climate plan (released in December 2018) includes programs to promote switching from fossil fuels 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 administered by BC Hydro, FortisBC, or other third-party delivery providers, 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 the federal, provincial, and municipal governments, 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.

In October 2021, the CleanBC climate plan was enhanced through the release of an updated plan, the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030. The CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 outlines new and expanded measures, aimed at meeting the Province of BC's emissions reduction targets for 2030 and setting the stage to reach net zero by 2050.

Last reviewed: November 2022

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: November 2022

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: November 2022

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). BC Hydro published an IRP 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. BC Hydro filed its most recent IRP with the BC Utilities Commission in December 2021.

FortisBC released its long-term electricity resource plan (LTERP) in 2021 and its long-term natural gas resource plan (LTGRP) in 2017.  FortisBC’s 2017 natural gas Conservation Potential Review (CPR) was appended to its 2017 LTGRP, and its 2021 electric CPR was appended to its 2021 LTERP.  Both plans are completed independently, though in consideration of BC Hydro's Integrated Resource Plan. FortisBC’s 2021 natural gas Conservation Potential Review (CPR) was appended to its 2022 LTGRP filed May, 2022.

FortisBC electric and natural gas utilities both submitted new Demand Side Management Expenditures Plans for regulatory approval in 2022.  FortisBC submitted a five-year (2023-2027) electric and one-year (2023) gas DSM Expenditure Plan. FortisBC's 2023 gas DSM Expenditure Plan is intended to serve as a bridging plan, prior to expected provincial amendments to the Demand-side Measures Regulation that will impact eligible natural gas energy efficiency investments.

Last reviewed: November 2022

Cost-Effectiveness Testing

Tests used: Utility Cost Test (UCT) is used to evaluate DSM programs and portfolios for cost-effectiveness.

The “Demand-Side Measures Regulation” (BC Reg 117/2017) under 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 (S.4(1)).

In June 2023, amendments were made to the Demand-Side Measures Regulation which changed the way demand-side management plans are evaluated for adequacy and cost-effectiveness.

The amendments replaced the previous cost testing methods. Rather than the total resource cost test (TRC) (and associated adders) and the modified TRC, the utility cost test must now be used to test cost-effectiveness of natural gas and electricity DSM (S. 4(1.1)(a)(b)). The avoided cost of electricity continues to be based on the long-run marginal cost of clean electricity while the amendments specified renewable natural gas as the avoided cost for natural gas DSM (S.4(1.1)(a)(i)).

As per the amendments, the commission must not find incentives for conventional gas equipment cost-effective (with some exceptions for low-income and Indigenous measures, and for some building types) unless the utility cost test results in a cost-benefit ratio ≥ 50 (S.4(2.1)(b)).

In order for hybrid and gas heat pump systems to be eligible for incentives, equipment must meet specified performance thresholds (S.1.1(2)). For example gas-fired heat pumps must have a modelled coefficient of performance (SCOP) ≥ 1.

The amendments increased the income threshold for low-income programs from 1.3x to 1.6x the low-income cut-off (LICO) (S.1(“low-income household”)(a)), moved the cost effectiveness evaluation of low-income and Indigenous energy efficiency programs to the portfolio level (S.4(4)), and require Indigenous programs within DSM portfolios (S.3(1)(g)).

Last reviewed: August 2023

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's electricity and natural gas 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: November 2022

Support for Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs

The “Demand-Side Measures Regulation” (BC Reg 117/2017) under 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).

Amendments made to the regulation in June 2023 increased the income threshold for low-income programs from 1.3x to 1.6x the low-income cut-off (LICO) (S.1(“low-income household”)(a)); revised the definition of Class A demand-side measures which includes low-income measures to exclude conventional gas equipment  (S.1(“class A demand-side measure”)); and moved the cost-effectiveness evaluation of low-income energy efficiency programs from the program to the portfolio level (S.4(4)).

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.

In December 2021, FortisBC added air source heat pump upgrades from existing less efficient electric space heating systems to its Income Qualified Space and Water Heating Program. This offer is not co-funded by CleanBC.

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

Launched in FY2021-22, the CleanBC Better Homes Income Qualified Program is a new, time-limited, efficiency and electrification offers incentives to low- and moderate-income households.

Last reviewed: August 2023

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 Roadmap remains under development.

The District of Saanich developed a PACE/LIC pilot program, called the Oil to Heat Pump Financing pilot program, with funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Real Estate Foundation of BC. The program is now fully subscribed and accepting limited wait-list applications.


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 interest rates between zero and 0%. 

FortisBC's Heat Pump Loan program 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 repaid over a ten-year term. 

Nelson BC EcoSave Program offers Nelson Hydro Electric customers may use on-bill financing for energy efficiency retrofits that are eligible for rebates (including water conservation toilets). Other items and costs that provide a positive energy or water reduction may be approved by the EcoSave Program Manager. A loan of up to $16,000 may be repaid over a five or ten-year term with 3.5% fixed interest rate (subject to change at beginning of each year). 

Penticton BC Home Energy Loan Program offers Penticton Electric Utility customers on-bill financing for energy efficiency upgrades. A loan of up to $10,000 may be repaid over a ten-year term. The program ends Dec. 31, 2022.

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: November 2022

Research and Development

Dedicated innovation funding

The BC government maintained a Building Innovation Fund ($5m in 2021-2022) to promote innovation in design, construction practices, systems, and materials/technologies.

FortisBC included funding for an Innovative Technology program in its 2019-2022 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. Additional examples were provided in 2022 including  trialling an online market place which allows customers to compare and evaluate products from multiple retailers using metrics such as lifetime operating costs, energy use, and efficiency rating, as well as a university research partnership pilot that provides live energy data to customers, and assesses response to varying reward signals and direct load control events on home equipment.

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.

The province's Innovative Clean Energy Fund co-funded an energy efficient-related pilot demonstration for the development of next-generation electrochromic window technologies

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. Beginning in 2022 the utility is also conducting a two-year study to investigate the cost effectiveness and market development of Deep Energy Retrofit Pilots for residential and commercial buildings.

The province's Clean Buildings tax credit is a refundable income tax credit for qualifying retrofits that reduce the energy use intensity and improve the energy efficiency of eligible commercial and multi-unit residential buildings with four or more units. The credit amounts to five percent of qualifying expenditures incurred after Feb. 22, 2022, and before April 1, 2025,

Last reviewed: November 2022

Lead by example

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.


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 (electricity) reported widespread coverage (>99%) of two-way metering infrastructure in both residential and non-residential rate classes. FortisBC Energy (natural gas), does not have advanced metering in place for any but its largest commercial / industrial customers. The utility applied to the BCUC to install AMI for all customers in May 2021. No decision has been made by the BCUC.

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).

In 2021, this pilot work has led to the development and inclusion of a Non-Wires Alternative (NWA) program which will be included in DSM Plans moving forward. This program will provide potential alternatives to traditional capital build solutions in substations to meet local or regional needs.

BC Hydro has identified a non-wires solution project to address capacity constraints at the Hope substation. Implementation is planned for2022

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 42 stations, optimizing voltages for almost half of distribution feeders and covering some of the largest distribution substations. BC Hydro estimated it achieved approximately 189 GWh of energy savings in fiscal 2020 and approximately 202 GWh in fiscal 2021 through these activities. These savings are not considered in the utility’s DSM plan.

FortisBC (electricity) is currently conducting a pilot to evaluate the potential for conservation voltage reduction usingexisting AMI meters. It is expected to be completed in 2023.

Last reviewed: November 2022

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 does not track energy efficiency specific spending.

Last reviewed: November 2022

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.

On May 1, 2023, the province implemented "Revision 5" to the building code, requiring Step 3 for Part 9 buildings as the minimum standard. 

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 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).

On May 1, 2023, the province implemented "Revision 5" to the building code, requiring Step 2 for Part 3 buildings as the minimum standard. 

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. The CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 also includes a commitment to add a new carbon pollution standard to the BC Building Code, supporting a transition to zero-carbon new buildings by 2030

Zero carbon step code

On May 1, 2023, the province amended its provincial building code to add new optional technical building requirements for the reduction of GHG emissions.  These requirements are referred to as the 'Zero Carbon Step Code'.

Last reviewed: June 2023

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.

Compliance activity is largely related to the policy framework and engagement around the Energy Step Code. These 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)
  • The Part 3 Buildings Energy Code Compliance Checklists (created in collaboration with the City of Richmond and BC Hydro) for energy modellers and design professionals to verify compliance
  • The province created a 2018 Building Code website which provides users with such tools as a free pdf version, technical bulletins, a list of Updates and Revisions with corresponding dates, and an on-going itemized list of changes to the Code

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: November 2022

Home Energy Rating and Disclosure

Mandatory home energy rating and disclosure: Yes
Home energy labelling voluntary or pilot program: Yes

The Clean BC Climate Action Plan stated 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. In several other municipalities referencing the BC Energy Step Code in building bylaws, new buildings must undergo energy modelling and air tightness testing. For Part 9 buildings, this can result in an EnerGuide label. 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.

In 2020, building performance software developer OPEN Technologies launched Building Benchmark BC ( a voluntary benchmarking and disclosure program for both residential and commercial/industrial buildings. NRCan and the Province of British Columbia both provided partial funding support.

In his November 2020 mandate letter, the Premier directed the Minister of Finance to work with the Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation to require inclusion of energy ratings in home real estate listings at the time of sale. BC is implementing this through a virtual home energy rating system, to be implemented in FY2022-23

Last reviewed: November 2022

Building Energy Rating and Disclosure

Mandatory large building energy rating and disclosure: No
Voluntary building benchmarking and transparency program: Yes (City of Vancouver)

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.

The Clean BC Climate Action Plan stated 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.

In 2020, building performance software developer OPEN Technologies launched Building Benchmark BC ( a voluntary benchmarking and disclosure program for both residential and commercial/industrial buildings. NRCan and the Province of British Columbia both provided partial funding support.

As part of its Energy Retrofit Strategy for Existing Buildings, the City of Vancouver administers a building benchmarking program for municipal buildings (mandatory), with voluntary participation from large public sector, institutional, commercial, and residential buildings.

Last reviewed: November 2022

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.

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. On February 16, 2021, it was approved and ordered by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The amendment includes new and updated standards for computers and monitors, residential windows, residential gas boilers, and commercial gas boilers, as well as regulatory upkeep.

As of 2022, BC regulates the following products not covered by federal regulations

  • Fenestration
    • Door slabs; Glazing products; Non-metal, non-wood framed windows and sliding glass doors (for smaller buildings); Residential windows and sliding glass doors (for smaller buildings; Skylights; Metal framed windows, sliding glass doors, curtain walls, window walls and store front windows (for smaller buildings); Non-metal curtain walls, window walls and storefront windows (for smaller buildings); Hinged and bi-folding doors (for smaller buildings); Metal framed windows, sliding glass doors, curtain walls, window walls and store front windows (for larger buildings); Non-metal windows, sliding glass doors, curtain walls, window walls and storefront windows (for larger buildings)
  • Miscellaneous
    • Computers and monitors (desktop computers; laptop computers; notebooks; portable all-in-one computers; mobile gaming systems; thin clients; small-scale servers; workstations; high expandability computers; computer monitors)

As of 2022 BC regulates the following products above the federal standards

  • Space heating/cooling
    • Residential gas furnace; Residential gas boiler; Single-phase split-system heat pumps
  • Water heating/refrigeration
    • Electric household water heater

Last reviewed: November 2022

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 raised targets to 26% by 2026, 90% by 2030, and 100% by 2035. 

Last reviewed: November 2022

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 offers direct-to-consumer, point-of-purchase rebates. Consumers are eligible for up to $4,000 off of the purchase price of a battery electric, fuel-cell electric, or longer range plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. A rebate of up to $2,000 is also available for the purchase or lease of a shorter-range plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

The SCRAP-IT programs offers rebates when you scrap an old vehicle in BC. In 2021, electric vehicle purchasers who applied for the rebate via the Scrap-It website could receive up to $3,000 for a new or used EV. In 2022, new and used battery electric vehicle purchasers can receive a $500 rebate and plug-in electric vehicle purchasers can receive a $400 rebate. Participants are also eligible for rebates towards electric bikes, transit passes, car share credits, or cash rebates.

The CleanBC Go Electric Specialty 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 variety 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 be received - 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 2022

“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 2022

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 2022

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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