Building Emissions & Energy Efficiency Requirements

The City of Colwood was an advanced adopter of the BC Energy Step Code and now the Zero Carbon Step Code.  New requirements increase the energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in new construction throughout Colwood.

BC Energy Step Code (energy efficiency)
Effective May 1, 2023, the province requires most new buildings to comply with the energy efficiency requirements of the BC Energy Step Code. A building’s performance will be evaluated through whole building energy modelling and on-site airtightness testing to meet performance targets for the applicable ‘Step’ of the BC Energy Step Code.

Current requirements in Colwood:

  • Step 3 for Part 9 buildings
  • Step 2 for Part 3 buildings

The adoption of higher steps of the BC Energy Step Code will follow the provincial adoption schedule increasing to net zero ready by 2032. *See the timeline below or visit the BC webpage.

BC Zero Carbon Step Code (GHG emissions)
On January 22, 2024, Colwood Council adopted the Zero Carbon Step Code Emissions Level 4 (EL-4) with the following schedule for implementation. Building Permits applied for on or after these dates are subject to that requirement. (The Zero Carbon Step Code came into force in BC on May 1, 2023 with the option of early adoption by local governments.)

Current requirements in Colwood:

  • March 4, 2024 - Part 9 Buildings
  • July 1, 2024 - Part 3 Residential Buildings 6 storeys or fewer
  • November 1, 2024 - Part 3 Buildings

The Zero Carbon Step Code sets a maximum annual amount of greenhouse gas emissions that each new building is allowed to emit. *Visit the BC webpage for more information.

Why is This Important?

In 2019, the City of Colwood Council declared a Climate Emergency and has since set targets in order to reach net zero community-wide emissions by 2050 or sooner. Building emissions in Colwood represent approximately 30% of total community-wide emissions.  Burning fossil fuels (such as natural gas and oil) for space heating and hot water are the primary sources of building emissions. 

Learn more about Colwood’s Climate Action Plan, including initiatives to reduce (and eliminate) greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changing climate.

Efforts to reduce the GHG emissions and overall energy use in buildings is one important step towards future sustainability and has many benefits for building residents and occupants, including long-term cost savings, both heating and cooling opportunities, and overall resilience to climate change impacts.

Increasing Requirements in BC

The City of Colwood will now be following the BC timeline for the increasing energy efficiency requirements of the Energy Step Code.

The Province of BC's goal is that all new buildings be net-zero energy-ready by 2032. 


How-to Process Guides for Step Code