The Path to “Net-Zero Energy” Buildings in B.C.

The case for action and the role of public policy

Along with its Pacific Coast Collaborative partners—the states of California, Oregon and Washington—British Columbia has committed to “lead the way to ‘net-zero’ buildings.” Buildings where energy use has been reduced to a level such that it could be generated on site, are often labelled as “ultra-low energy” or “net-zero ready." While this is an admirable commitment, B.C. has yet to define its net-zero target and articulate a plan to get there. This paper looks specifically at the necessary components of a roadmap to make new complex (Part 3) buildings net-zero ready. It describes the environmental and economic case for a deep efficiency pathway, reviews some of the targets and policies adopted in leading jurisdictions, and then articulates ten key policies to get to “net-zero ready”. 

To learn more about the role and history of building regulations in accelerating energy efficiency in B.C., read the first paper in this series: Evolution of Energy Efficiency Requirements in the B.C. Building Code.