The District of Elkford has introduced revisions to its Energy Step Code Incentives in hopes of enticing builders to construct more energy-efficient buildings after an apparent lack of interest in its 2019 program.
The District has increased its incentives significantly over last year, making for a more lucrative rebate program for builders in the area.
“In 2019, for Step 2 for instance, you had 20% and then at step 5, it was 80%. There was about a 20% jump in each step,” said Jeremy Johnston, Director of Planning and Development Services. “In this year’s iteration of the policy, we’re looking at starting at 30% for step 2, all the way up to 120% of your building permit fee if you hit step 5, so you’d get a bit of money back.”
The BC Energy Step Code is a guideline intended to support a transition from current energy efficiency standards to net-zero energy ready buildings by 2032 in the province.
According to the District, the implementation of the Step Code will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the community.
Johnston added that builders can apply for funding for a test to analyze how air-tight a given build is.
“We had an energy advisor grant of $500 if you did step one, but now that step one is mandated by the District, we kind of cut that back. You can still get $250 for a mid-construction blower door test. That would apply to any building permits that are in-stream right now, so if people already started construction, they can still apply for that.”
According to the District, funding to cover the cost of incentive programs is provided by BC Hydro to reduce the impact on the community.
Elkford hopes that the revision of its policy will draw in more builders to take advantage of the rebates, as little interest was seen last year.
“We had about five builds that would have been eligible for this program, but they didn’t take advantage of it,” explained Johnston. “Seeing as we didn’t have anyone take advantage of it last year. We figured that we should do some education and awareness, take advantage of that funding, at the same time increase those incentives, so it’s kind of a double hit in trying to increase uptake of this program.”
Following this revision, the District of Elkford plans to adopt Step 3 by December of this year.