Sharing stories of how and why builders and communities are using British Columbia’s new energy-performance building standard.

Case Studies

A new graphical case study series ventures “behind the drywall” at five newly constructed British Columbia homes, to reveal the people who built them and the strategies they used to cost effectively meet the requirements of Step 3 or Step 4 of the BC Energy Step Code.

A Step 3 home is about 20 percent more energy efficient than one built to the minimum requirements of the BC Building Code; a Step 4 home is 30 percent more efficient.

Members of BC Hydro’s Community Energy Managers’ network produced the original five-part series. Additional case studies are always welcome.

The group developed the case studies in response to multiple requests from builders and local governments across the province for “real-world” examples of homes that deliver above-the-code performance with a modest construction cost premium. The projects incurred a construction cost premium of between zero and 4 per cent, and reached completion within the past one or two years.

How They Did It

All five builders highlighted in the case study projects relied on six strategies, techniques, and considerations to boost the energy-efficiency performance of the featured homes:

  1. Boost Insulation: To reduce heat loss, increase insulation in walls, floors, roof, and foundation.
  2. Ventilate Smartly: Bring plenty of fresh air into the home and recover heat from the exhaust air leaving the building.
  3. Mind your Machines: Specify efficient appliances, and ensure your heating system will meet — but not exceed — the home’s needs.
  4. Minimize Thermal Bridges:  A break in your insulation acts like a bridge that carries heat straight out of the house. Take care with corners, junctions, gaps and studs!
  5. Seal it Up: Air leaks are heat leaks. Wrap the home tightly, taking care to seal around ducts, pipes, fixtures, and wires that pass through walls, ceilings, and roof.
  6. Think about Doors and Windows: Carefully consider their energy performance, size, and location.

Series Overview

Campbell River



New: Langley



Last Updated: December 10, 2018