This past year has been an exciting one for Energy Save New West!  From starting a new energy efficiency program for existing Strata buildings in Metro Vancouver, to bringing forward new policies and bylaw amendments supporting high performance buildings via the BC Energy Step Code, and commissioning of the Lower Mainland’s first community solar array (Urban Solar Garden), we’re pleased to see the progress and impact we’re having locally.

Heading into 2019, we wanted to thank our local residents, businesses, non-profits, and our design and construction community that have participated in Energy Save New West.

Some milestones were reached by Energy Save New West in 2018, which are summarized below: 

Program Highlights:

  • Existing Homes – Our existing home program registered its 600th participant with 52 new registrations in 2018 and 20 new energy assessments completed.  Additionally, our monthly e-newsletter subscription list grew to over 677 subscribers!
  • Multi-Residential Buildings – A regional initiative created specifically for strata residential buildings was launched in Fall 2017, in partnership with Metro Vancouver Regional District, UBC and five local governments.  New Westminster currently has 12 active participants in the Strata Energy Advisor Program, receiving free building energy assessments as well as guidance and technical support on cost-effective energy retrofits.  Participating strata properties are eligible for additional funding incentives on identified energy efficiency upgrades.
  • High Performance New Homes – This program grew by 12 new participants in 2018, and is available for new single-detached homes, including laneway / carriage homes, as well as ground-oriented multi-unit projects such as duplexes / triplexes and townhomes.  To date, completed residential projects registered in our program are achieving 18% better modelled energy-efficiency performance in comparison with a similar reference building built to minimum BC Building Code.  These projects are also achieving 48% better air tightness versus standard industry practices in SW British Columbia (Climate Zone 4).  As part of local implementation of the BC Energy Step Code, incentive funding has been doubled for both 2019 and 2020 to support a greater number of new home projects.
  • Urban Solar Garden – With strong support from the local community, and clear leadership by the City’s Electrical Utility, New Westminster’s first larger-scale solar array was commissioned at Queensborough Community Centre in June 2018.  This rooftop solar photovoltaic array represents the first community-owned, rooftop solar photovoltaic array providing local residents, businesses and non-profit organizations access to renewable energy “Made in New West for New West”.
  • ENERGY STAR® Appliance Program – Our collaboration with BC Hydro on the ENERGY STAR® Appliance Program resulted in over 50 local residents purchasing new energy-efficient washers, dryers and refrigerators and taking advantage of up to $300 in incentives through BC Hydro and City of New Westminster.
  • Industry Engagement and Training – Energy Save New West supports our local developer / builder, and designer / architect community with specialized training and professional development in high performance design and construction, including:
    • A total of 150 attendees at two Builder & Designer Breakfasts and two UDI Developer Breakfast Workshops in 2018.
    • 20 attendees to our first hands-on air tightness training at BCIT’s High Performance Building Lab, with two more sessions planned for 2019.
    • Four more builders that have completed BCIT’s 5-day CESA 1500 Passive House Tradesperson course in 2018.

Policy Highlights:

  • Passive Design Exclusions – Zoning bylaw amendment that permits floor area exclusions (FSR increases) and height relaxations for high performance homes with thicker insulated wall and roof assemblies.  Council adoption of the Zoning Bylaw Amendment in February 2018.
  • Step Code Framework for Part 9 Buildings – On April 9, 2018, City Council endorsed the implementation framework and timing for the Step Code applicable to new residential buildings up to three floors and under 600 m2 (6,458 ft2) in building footprint, regulated by Part 9, Section 9.36 of the BC Building Code.  Council also instructed staff to proceed with developer engagement on the Step Code for larger buildings (Part 3), and bring back recommendations in a subsequent report.
  • Step Code Framework for Part 3 Buildings – On December 10, 2018, Council endorsed the proposed Step Code framework for Part 3 multi-residential and commercial buildings, regulated by Section 10.2 of the BC Building Code  This framework includes an optional pathway allowing a one Step relaxation for buildings installing or connecting to a City-approved low carbon energy system.  An amendment to our Building Bylaw will be forthcoming in early 2019, and will include the previously endorsed Step Code framework for Part 9 (April 2018).

Looking ahead to 2019, we’re excited for the next year to come including local implementation of the BC Energy Step Code, design and construction of the second Urban Solar Garden, and expansion of our High Performance New Home program.

Thanks for your continued support, and stay tuned for important news and program / policy updates in 2019.