Step Code Incentive Program

Important Reminder

Step 2 of the BC Energy Step Code in effect as of May 1, 2021. 

Please see the Building Industry Newsletter for Details 

Energy Step Code Forms

Energy Advisors

Energy Step Code Rebate Application Information

What is the BC Energy Step Code

We are pleased to announce, that we are adopting the BC Energy Step Code in an effort to support our climate action goals. Green House Gas (GHG) emissions from residential buildings contribute 7.5% to community-wide emissions, and 14% of non-industrial community emissions. Early participation in the Step Code program is expected to have a positive effect on the energy efficiency of North Cowichan’s building stock by encouraging a higher energy efficiency standard in advance of mandatory requirements. This will help reduce our overall carbon footprint.

The Step Code is a provincial initiative that, when implemented, requires new homes to meet higher energy efficiency standards than are currently required in the BC Building Code. The Step Code does not specify how to construct an energy-efficient building; instead, it identifies an energy-efficiency target that must be met and lets the designer/builder decide how to meet it. 

The Step Code provides a series of incremental targets for energy-efficiency standards that, according to the CleanBC Plan, will culminate in all buildings being built to a net zero standard (80% more efficient than today) by 2032.

North Cowichan's Phased Incentive Program

We are launching a phased Step Code Incentive Program to encourage local builders to voluntarily meet the BC Energy Step Code (BCSC). Our Step Code Incentive Program is the result of an extensive review of existing successful programs offered by other Local Governments, and feedback and guidance from the Province of BC and key industry stakeholders. Our Step Code implementation plan was approved by Mayor and Council on May 20, 2020 and includes a voluntary period of compliance, coupled with incentives.

The first phase of our incentive program will launch in October 2020, and offers incentives to commercial builders and homeowners who choose to comply with, at minimum, Step 2 of the BCSC. Council has amended the Building Bylaw to require all new builds in North Cowichan to meet Step 2 of the BCSC as of May 1, 2021. At this time, new builds can then only apply for a rebate if they voluntarily meet step 3 or higher.

In introducing this voluntary, incentive-based approach to the BCSC our goals are two-fold: to introduce builders to this program before it is mandatory, and to increase the efficiency of new builds. Builders who register for our program can receive a rebate of up to $1,250 by ensuring new builds voluntarily comply with the BC Energy Step Code. New builds could be eligible for the following rebates: 

Step 3 $750 – 20% increase in efficiency (will be made mandatory by Province in 2022) 
Step 4 $1,000 – 40% increase in efficiency 
Step 5 $1,250 – 80% increase in efficiency 


We hosted interactive online sessions to provide more detail about the Step Code, our Incentive Program, and answer your questions on August 20 and October 29, 2020. 

The format of these sessions included a staff presentation, along with a panel of industry professionals, and a Q&A.

To watch the recorded session from August 20, 200, see below! 

For more information on the BC Energy Step Code, visit:


Check out our FAQ document [PDF - 412 KB]