The BC Energy Step Code could deliver up to 1,700 jobs
as local manufacturing & construction industries pivot towards sustainability


March 7, 2019 – Vancouver, B.C.– Today, the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) launched the Green Building Market Forecast, a report quantifying the potential economic impact of the BC Energy Step Code (ESC) in Metro Vancouver. The study identified a $3.3 billion market opportunity resulting from materials and manufacturing for newly constructed buildings to meet the energy requirements of the ESC between 2019–2032.

“Climate change is the most pressing issue facing the world today, and ambitious policies create huge new market opportunities,” says VEC CEO Catherine Warren. “With our engineering and construction know-how, the Vancouver region is ideally positioned to develop its local manufacturing sector to serve the green building industry.” The global market for green building products is estimated to rise as high as $350 billion a year by 2020.

The economic impact of the ESC includes the potential to create 925 well-paying, sustainable manufacturing jobs throughout B.C., and at least 770 ongoing installation jobs in Metro Vancouver. The report also states that B.C. and Vancouver businesses should act now to take advantage of markets with similar climates and advanced green building codes, including those in the Cascadia megaregion, and throughout North America.

The ESC provides a predictable pathway for market transformation towards net-zero energy ready buildings. The steps were developed over two years through a consensus-building process, supported by energy modelling and analysis. The VEC built on this analysis to forecast the market demand for building products and technologies. The resulting report was tool was developed in consultation with a wide range of real estate and construction industry experts, with modelling provided by Delphi Group and funding from Discovery Foundation and BC Housing.

VEC’s report is critical reading for anyone in the construction, development or manufacturing industries looking to understand and take advantage of upcoming trends in B.C.’s building sector. In it you will find concrete data and analysis to help manufacturers and suppliers transition knowledge, equipment and investments and take advantage of growing demand for building products. Improving B.C.’s capabilities in this way will also improve access to – and affordability of – high performance products by creating more resilient and efficient local supply chains and reducing transportation costs.

VEC projects that demand for low-performance products – especially windows – evaporates after 2022. Manufacturers and suppliers must be aware of these significant market changes as soon as possible to grow business locally and capitalize on global trade. Conversely, demand for high performance systems will increase, including mechanical equipment such as heat pumps and heat recovery ventilators.


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Will your home be up to code?

By Yury Shupilov


Increased natural disasters of late- such as flooding and wildfires, have prompted a rewrite of Canada’s building code. The new regulations are poised to take effect in 2025.

As climate change intensifies, the risk of disruptive environmental changes will become a bigger risk unless concrete carbon-reducing policies are implemented nationwide. Without these changes, damages linked to natural disasters could cost Canada $300 billion over the next decade.

An official report released this month urges for new design infrastructure which would protect residents from extreme climate warming. These include regulations on how concrete is mixed, roofing standards, and building materials.

The new legislation will be the “first substantive” move towards more environmentally friendly building code.

What will change?

  • New green design rules for buildings will become standard by 2025.
  • Roofs will need to be certified for protection against extreme weather events.
  • Concrete pavement will need to improve to mitigate flooding.
  • New standards will be implemented for basement flood protection.
  • New climate resilience for existing stormwater systems will be developed.

Provincial and territorial governments will determine whether specifics of the National Building Code are applied in their jurisdictions.

Measures against flooding 

Natalia Moudrak, director of climate resilience at the University of Waterloo’s Intact Centre, writes in the report that flooding is the biggest challenge for homeowners in Canada.

When floods hit Toronto city in 2018,  the average cost to affected homeowners was $43,000.

The construction industry could face changes in the code, such as mandating backflow preventers in new homes, and building developments outside of flood plains or attaching new shingles to the roof.

Air quality Management refers to all activities related to improving air quality, and protecting human health and the environment from harmful effects of air pollution that are undertaken by regulatory authorities.

Taking action to reduce air pollution will help improve the health of the province’s citizens, address the government’s air quality targets, preserve our environment and enhance our economic competitiveness.

Understanding the source, location and types of emissions in an area is valuable and allows communities to develop targeted actions that can improve air quality in a region. For example, for regions with high particulate matter emissions in the winter, open burning and woodstove emissions could be targeted for reduction, thereby improving local air quality. Air Quality Management is a collaborative effort been multiple stakeholders in a community. Information from data assessment, emissions inventory, and modelling results are often used to build a plan of action to reduce priority contaminants in a region.