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Energy-efficiency requirements and resources for new homes up to 6 storeys

Are you designing or building a single-family or multi-family home? This information is for new, purely residential buildings 1 to 6 storeys tall, including:

  • One- and two-family homes
  • Townhomes and rowhomes
  • Laneway homes
  • Secondary suites
  • One to six storey stacked multi-family residential buildings
By 2020 new homes must be carbon neutral and use 50% less energy than homes did in 2007.

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

Get the 2014 City of Vancouver Building and Plumbing Systems Bylaws

Starting March 1, 2018, the single family prescriptive energy requirements in the 2014 Vancouver Building Bylaw will align across all purely residential buildings 1-6 storeys.

Building requirements

This section includes energy requirements for 1 and 2 family dwellings, ancillary buildings (laneway and coach homes), townhomes, and 1-3 storey multi-family buildings.

Projects obtaining a building permit after March 1, 2018 must meet the following criteria:

Opaque envelope

Component 1 and 2 family Townhomes
Low-rise MURBs <4 storeys
Above grade walls and foundation walls RSI 3.85 (R22 eff) RSI 3.85 (R22 eff)
Attic 8.5 (R48 eff) 8.5 (R48 eff)
Flat and vaulted roof 4.3 (R28 Nom) 5.28 (R30 eff)
Under slab 2.5 (R14 eff) 2.5 (R14 eff)
Exposed floors 4.2 (R24 eff) 4.2 (R24 eff)
Blower door air tightness (ACH) Testing + 3.5 ACH50 TH: Testing + 3.5 ACH50
MURB: Testing + 2.0 L/s/m2
@75Pa
Concrete balconies, exposed slab edge N/A 0.42 (R 2.4)
Side hinged doors U 1.8 W/m2K 
(0.32 Btu/h•ft2•°F)
U 1.8 (0.32)

Transparent envelope

Component 1 and 2 family Townhomes
Low-rise MURBs <4 storeys
Windows
Curtainwalls
U 1.4 W/m2K 
(0.25 Btu/h•ft2•°F)
U 1.4 (0.25)
Sliding glass doors U 1.4 (0.25) U 1.4 (0.25)
Roof access hatches U 2.9 (0.51) U 2.9 (0.51)

Mechanical

Component 1 and 2 family Townhomes
Low-rise MURBs <4 storeys
Furnace / make-up air 92% Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) 92% AFUE
Fireplaces Direct vent, electronic ignition Direct vent, electronic ignition
Must be on a fireplace timer
Outdoor fireplaces Electronic ignition
Must be on a fireplace timer
Electronic ignition (exterior fireplaces can use match ignition)
Must be on a fireplace timer
Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV)  65% sensible heat recovery efficiency (SRE) at 0℃ 65% SRE at 0℃
Domestic hot water Energy Factor (EF) of 0.78 Energy Factor (EF) of 0.78
Solar Chase Solar Chase
2x 2” PVC
Solar Chase - PV only
EnerGuide Report EnerGuide report
Pre-Permit Checklist
Pre-Drywall Checklist
EnerGuide report
Pre-Permit Checklist
Pre-Drywall Checklist

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:

  • New Homes Energy Checklist  (273 KB) to confirm that the design meets the criteria of the energy model’s components, and for a visual verification before installation of insulation
  • Home energy model using the EnerGuide HOT2000 
  • Blower door test to identify air leaking in and out of your home
  • Final EnerGuide Home Evaluation

Large homes

New homes with a floor area greater than 325m2 must complete a GHG limit calculation  (136 KB) to meet a GHG emissions cap.

Floor area exclusion for thermal insulation

To accommodate additional thermal insulation required to achieve the current building bylaw, a floor area exclusion is permitted. Refer to the Thermal Insulation Bulletin  (101 KB) for details.

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.

This section outlines the energy requirements for purely residential 4-6 storey multi-family buildings. These projects can choose between a prescriptive or performance path for compliance.

Find more information, guides, and resources at the Energy for Large and Retail / Commercial Projects page.

Prescriptive path

The prescriptive path is aligned with the 2014 VBBL single family requirements. Refer to the following table: 

Opaque envelope

Component 4-6 storey residential
Above grade walls and foundation walls RSI 3.85 (R22 eff)
Attic 8.5 (R48 eff)
Flat and vaulted roof 5.28 (R30 eff)
Under slab 2.5 (R14 eff)
Exposed floors 4.2 (R24 eff)
Blower door air tightness (ACH) Testing + 2.0 L/s/m2
@75Pa
Concrete balconies, exposed slab edge 0.42 (R 2.4)
Side hinged doors U 1.8 (0.32)

Transparent envelope

Component 4-6 storey residential
Windows
Curtainwalls
U 1.4 (0.25)
Sliding glass doors U 1.4 (0.25)
Skylights and sloped glazing U 2.4 (0.42)
Roof access hatches U 2.9 (0.51)

Mechanical

Component 4-6 storey residential
Furnace / make-up air 92% AFUE
Boiler 92% AFUE
Fireplaces Direct vent, electronic ignition (exterior fireplaces can use match ignition)
Must be on a fireplace timer
Outdoor fireplaces Electronic ignition
Must be on a fireplace timer
Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV)  65% SRE at 0℃
Domestic hot water Energy Factor (EF) of 0.78
Solar Chase Solar Chase - PV only

Performance path

The alternative compliance path is the following performance metrics. This path requires building modelling, see the Vancouver Modelling Guidelines  (512 KB).

Performance path metrics:

GHGI (Greenhouse Gas Intensity) 5.5 kg/m2 annually
TEDI (Thermal Energy Demand Intensity) 25 kWh/m2 annually
Energy Use Intensity (EUI) 110 kWh/m2 annually

Floor area exclusion for thermal insulation

To accommodate additional thermal insulation required to achieve the current building bylaw, a floor area exclusion is permitted. Refer to the Thermal Insulation Bulletin  (101 KB) for details.

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.

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.

Energy models we accept:

Energy modelling for large homes

Homes obtaining permits after March 1, 2018 with a floor area over 325m2 must complete a GHG limit calculation  (136 KB).

Other software models must be approved in advance by the City's Housing Review Branch. For more information, phone the Development and Building Services Centre at 604-873-7611.

Checklists: