Green standards for buildings come into effect in British Columbia



News Release

Green building logoVICTORIA – Effective September 5, 2008, every new building in B.C. will meet progressive standards for energy and water efficiency Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman announced today.

“The greening of the B.C. Building Code will provide homebuyers with an environmentally sound choice – a home that will have a lower impact on the environment and that will have the added benefit of saving them money on utility fees,” Coleman said.

New houses, multi-family residential buildings under five storeys, and small commercial and industrial buildings must meet new insulation requirements. As an alternative to meeting the insulation requirements for housing, builders can demonstrate equivalent energy performance or achieve an EnerGuide Rating System rating of 77.

The EnerGuide program uses computer software to evaluate the energy efficiency of the building, and designate a rating number based on the results. Builders can choose to use a combination of different building materials and techniques to achieve an EnerGuide rating of 77.

New high-rise residential buildings and larger commercial buildings must meet the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers 90.1(2004) standard. ASHRAE 90.1 is an internationally recognized standard for energy efficiency. It applies to several components of the building: the building envelope; heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems; water heating; power, lighting; and other equipment.

To improve the water efficiency of homes and other buildings, ultra low-flow toilets and other water saving plumbing fixtures will be mandatory.

The new green requirements, which apply to all new construction in B.C., were announced in April 2008, giving industry and local governments time to become familiar with the changes. More information is available online at by clicking on the ‘Greening the B.C. Building Code’ button.

The Province is exploring additional ways to reduce the impact of buildings on the environment by further improving water conservation, reducing energy use and promoting the use of more environmentally friendly construction materials.

Greening the B.C. Building Code is one of the extensive steps being taken across government to meet the Province’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020.

Media contact:
Seumas Gordon
Ministry of Housing and Social
250 387-6490
250 818-4508 (Cell)


Posted January 2009