Blue house surrounded by trees

Help shape proposed updates to reduce emissions from detached homes 

November 16 2023 –

Vancouver residents are invited to provide feedback on how we can move toward higher efficiency hot water equipment in existing detached and duplex homes.

Over the past decade, Vancouver has updated its building code to reduce emissions as technology improves and more energy efficient equipment becomes readily available.

The two proposed updates to the Vancouver Building By-law for existing single-family detached homes and duplexes are:    

  1. Home renovations over $75,000 would no longer be required to upgrade airtightness and attic insulation, and instead would be required to replace existing hot water heaters with higher efficiency equipment (to go into effect in July 2024).   
  2. When hot water heaters are replaced, they must be replaced with higher efficiency equipment (to go into effect in January 2025).

“Higher efficiency” means equipment that is at least 100 per cent efficient, which includes electric water heaters, electric heat pump systems, hybrid gas/electric systems, and high-efficiency gas heat pumps. It does not include typical gas water heaters, condensing or on-demand gas water heaters (often called “high-efficiency”), as these are all less than 100 per cent efficient.    

Several exceptions, most notably for emergency replacements of hot water heaters, are also being proposed to provide flexibility and smoother uptake of the regulations in the early years. 

Tell us what you think    

Learn more about the proposed changes and complete the survey before Thursday, December 7.


Nearly 60 per cent of Vancouver’s carbon pollution comes from burning fossil fuels to heat our buildings, which includes both space heating and hot water. Through the City’s Zero Emissions Building Plan, most new buildings will be near zero-emissions by 2025. Now, as part of the Climate Emergency Action Plan, the City is exploring ways to decrease emissions from existing buildings by reducing the amount of energy needed and switching to renewable sources, while also simplifying the City’s renovation requirements.   
The proposed changes to Vancouver’s building code are aligned with upcoming CleanBC regulations and supported by financial incentives offered by both BC Hydro and Fortis, along with additional training for local suppliers to support market readiness.