Step Code Incentive Program

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 buildings make up 29% of community-wide 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. With the enactment of the BC Building Code, the Province will require all new builds to comply with Step 3 of the BC Energy Step Code.

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 Program to encourage local builders to voluntarily meet the BC Energy Step Code (BCSC). Our Energy 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 Step Code 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. In 2021 the Province will mandate that all new builds must meet Step 2 of the BCSC. At this time, Phase 2 pf our program will launch and new builds can then only apply for a rebate of 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 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 1 $.00 – no increased efficiency 
Step 2 $500 – 10% increase in efficiency (will be made mandatory by Province in 2021)
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 


Prior to launching our program in September, we will engage with industry stakeholders to collect feedback and provide information about the Step Code and implementation of our phased incentive program.

  • Join us for a remote info session August 20, 2020 6:00 – 8:00 pm!
  • A second session will be offered in September, this page will be updated once a date has been set.

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

To attend one of the remote sessions please email and include which session you would prefer to attend, along with the email address you will be using to join the meeting and your contact information*. Once you receive confirmation, we will send the WebEx session link to join one hour prior to the meeting.  

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

*Please note: Personal information collected by North Cowichan is done so under the authority of s. 26 (c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the purpose of administering engagement on the BC Energy Step Code and North Cowichan’s incentive program.  Please direct any questions about this to North Cowichan’s Privacy Officer, 250-746-3116, 7030 Trans-Canada Highway, Duncan, BC, V9L 6A1.