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Energy-efficiency requirements and resources for homes

Are you designing, building, or renovating a home? We’ve updated our building bylaw to make homes more energy efficient. This improves home comfort and reduces energy bills. It also helps the City of Vancouver meet our Greenest City 2020 Action Plan targets.

This information is for people who live in one- and two-family homes, townhomes, rowhomes, laneway homes and secondary suites (Part 9 residential buildings in the Vancouver Building Bylaw). 

By 2020 new homes must be carbon neutral and use 50% less energy than homes did in 2007.

Vancouver Building Bylaw requirements

Renovations

The Vancouver Building Bylaw (VBBL) 2014 update requires that you perform energy-efficient measures when you renovate your home. Any new work must also comply with the VBBL including ventilation systems, walls, roof, and room additions.

VBBL upgrades depend on the year of the home and the cost of the project. Homes built after 2009 do not require an EnerGuide assessment.

Home renovations may require the following:

Total project cost EnerGuide Home Evaluation and upgrades required?
Less than $5,000 Not required
$5000 to $24,999 EnerGuide Home Evaluation + high efficiency boiler or furnace (if replacing)
$25,000 to $49,999 EnerGuide Home Evaluation + high efficiency boiler or furnace (if replacing) + air sealing
More than $50,000 EnerGuide Home Evaluation + high efficiency boiler or furnace (if replacing)+ air sealing + improve attic insulation

 Questions? Call 3-1-1 to talk to City of Vancouver staff about your total project cost. 

New homes

Building permits issued for new homes after January 1, 2015 must conform to the 2014 Vancouver Building Bylaw.

The bylaw includes the 2012 BC Building Code (BCBC)  with Vancouver-specific additional requirements and revisions. Additional requirements and revisions to the BCBC should be read in tandem with the 2012 BCBC.

Tests and evaluations

For new homes built to the 2014 VBBL, builders must work with an EnerGuide Energy Advisor during design and inspection stages. An Energy Advisor will complete a:

  • Pre-permit checklist  (180 KB) to confirm that the design meets the criteria of the energy model’s components.
  • Home energy model using the EnerGuide HOT2000 .
  • Blower door test to identify air leaking in and out of your home.
  • Pre-drywall checklist  (188 KB) for a visual verification before installation of insulation.
  • Final EnerGuide Home Evaluation.

Are you planning a Passive House?

A Passive House build is an alternative compliance path to meeting the Vancouver Building Bylaw. It may also qualify for certain relaxations and exclusions.

How to meet your renovation energy upgrade requirements

Before you start, talk to an expert.  

1. Answer a few questions about your project. 

2. Find an Energy Advisor.

3. Review your EnerGuide Home Evaluation and required upgrades.

For Energy Advisors and building professionals

As an Energy Advisor, you conduct EnerGuide home assessments and ensure homes under NRCan’s energy efficiency housing initiatives  meet the required standards. We've gathered some tools and resources for your quick reference.

Models and checklists

Energy models we accept and inspection checklists.

Ask the Energy Coach

Call 1-844-881-9790

Monday: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 9:00am to 8:00pm
Friday, Saturday: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Sunday: Closed

Contact us

Talk to City staff about renovations or new home updates.

EnerGuide and Energy Advisors

EnerGuide is a Canadian rating system for energy consumption. It describes a home’s energy efficiency. Energy Advisors are experts who are certified by Natural Resources Canada. They perform energy efficiency home evaluations according to EnerGuide standards, and provide advice and recommendations to both homeowners and home building professionals.