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Tyee Homes achieves BC Energy Step Code Step 5 in Kimberley

January 3, 2023  By  Anthony Capkun

January 3, 2023 – BC homebuilder Tyee Homes has set a new bar for energy efficiency in residential construction, reports FortisBC, completing a new development with a home that reached the highest level of the BC Energy Step Code.*

Located within a seven-unit duplex development in Kimberley, B.C., the home achieved Step 5 of the BC Energy Step Code (net-zero energy ready) by incorporating passive solar design, a high level of airtightness and high-efficiency natural gas combination space and water heating system.

A custom home builder with 18 years of experience building in the Kootenays, Kimberley was among Tyee’s first builder development projects. According to FortisBC, the homebuilder is keen on finding the most practical and cost-effective ways to meet the highest level of the Step Code. It got involved in the study by working with an energy advisor to incorporate passive solar design and a high-level of airtightness.

“We’re extremely passionate about providing quality energy-efficient homes for our customers,” said Carl Lauren, owner of Tyee Homes. “Many of our customers are looking for homes that are more environmentally friendly and less expensive to operate.”

Tyee focused on the building envelope first, using off-the-shelf products such as SIGA building wrap and tape to ensure high-levels of airtightness. To maximize results, they thoroughly inspect the air sealing before it is covered with rigid insulation and cladding. With this approach, they achieved air tightness levels of about 0.7 air changes per hour, with an equivalent leakage area of approximately 5.2 x 5.2 in.

In addition to incorporating combination boilers for space and water heating, the home features in-floor radiant heating on both levels. Moving forward, Tyee Homes plans to continue to work with an energy advisor to see which design modifications can help them meet Step 5 in all of their units.

Through the combined efforts of passive solar design, improved building envelope and high-efficiency mechanical systems, the completed home was found to be 37% more efficient than a typical new home. The home also achieved significant energy savings, using roughly a third of the gas of the average BC home annually.

FortisBC says it supports builders through financial incentives, primarily through its New Home Program. It continues to evolve the program to prepare builders to meet and exceed the province’s building code requirements.

“The Kimberley project will really help move us forward in understanding the best approaches for energy-efficient residential construction, especially given its location in one of BC’s colder regions,” said Tanya Rumak, FortisBC. “Continuing to improve the energy efficiency of new construction—along with the work we are doing to decarbonize the gas system—means that our customers have more options available in how to achieve climate reduction goals.”


* The BC Energy Step Code is an optional compliance path in the BC Building Code that local governments may use to incentivize or require a level of energy efficiency in new construction that goes above and beyond the requirements of the BC Building Code.

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