A report on the provincially mandated Energy Step Code suggests the actual cost of the program is five times more than anticipated, which could seriously affect the price of a new home, according to the Canadian Home Builders Association of the Central Okanagan.
The Step Code mandates all new construction be net-zero energy ready by 2032.
In the summer, Kelowna city council put a mandatory implementation of the code on hold pending the CBHA-CO cost analysis report.
The report, released Wednesday, recommends keeping the Step Code voluntary, and working with the province to implement an energy efficiency renovation program.
“The Step Code is a great way for politicians to score green points with voters. However, the program simply passes on its costs to homebuyers, resulting in the next generation of homebuyers being locked out of the market,” association president Les Bellamy said.
“Implementing the Step Code comes at a substantial cost. We cannot allow homeownership to become a privilege to only the wealthy.”
The association says its studies show implementing lower levels of the code would result in an increase of four to nine per cent in building costs, while the Step Code Council has claimed implementation would add less than two per cent to costs.
The association is also concerned with the ability of the industry to implement the code and the actual environmental benefits derived from it.
“If the objective is reduced greenhouse gas emissions, it is better to focus on renovations to 99 per cent of B.C . homes. Energy retrofits, completed by licensed contractors, will have massive environmental benefits and contribute far more to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the environment.”
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