Cleaner Air, Lower Energy Bills From Stronger Energy Efficiency Standards

Cleaner Air, Lower Energy Bills From Stronger Energy Efficiency Standards

Posted on March 12, 2021 at 11:16 am by Bill Roberts
BC, Community, Provincial


The Province has boosted energy efficiency standards to help British Columbians save on energy costs and reduce pollution.

“Through CleanBC, we’re helping to make cleaner choices more affordable for British Columbians,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. By moving forward with new energy efficiency standards, homes and workplaces throughout the province will benefit from lower energy bills, helping to build a stronger, better B.C.”

The Energy Efficiency Standards Regulation sets minimum energy performance standards at the point of sale and manufacture for products that use, control or impact energy use. These standards are frequently updated to ensure products in the B.C. marketplace continue to improve.

The update to the standards regulation will result in the reduction of 52,500 tonnes of CO2 in 2030 – the equivalent to taking 12,750 cars off the road – and will save 1.72 million gigajoules of energy in 2030 –  as much as consumed by 16,000 B.C. homes. These changes will save British Columbians $45 million in energy bills per year and will have a net economic benefit of $114 million by 2030.

New and updated standards include those for computers and monitors, residential windows, residential gas boilers and commercial gas boilers. Computers will be required to have improved efficiency while in “idle” mode and computer monitors are to have improved efficiency while in use. The residential window standard is an incremental update to the current standard and can be met by dual-pane vinyl windows. The residential and commercial boiler standards require condensing technology in all new and replacement boilers.

“We’re improving energy efficiency standards for everyday products to reduce emissions and save people money through lower energy bills,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “These changes will help build a cleaner, better future for people through CleanBC and help us meet our greenhouse gas emission targets by cutting pollution in communities across the province.”

There have been six major amendments to British Columbia’s Energy Efficiency Standards Regulation (EESR) since 2006. Amendment 7 delivers on CleanBC commitments to introduce new energy efficiency standards for space heaters and residential windows.

Learn More:

To learn more about the new amendment to the EESR, see the British Columbia Energy Efficiency Standards online:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/electricity-alternative-energy/energy-efficiency-conservation/policy-regulations/standards

The CleanBC plan helps reduce pollution and power the future with renewable energy: https://cleanbc.gov.bc.ca/

Further information:

The Energy Efficiency Standards Regulation under the Energy Efficiency Act
The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation (the ministry) is responsible for the Energy Efficiency Standards Regulation (EESR) under the Energy Efficiency Act, which allows the Province to set standards for devices that use, control or affect the use of energy at the point of sale or manufacture. There have been six major amendments to the EESR since 2006.

Over the past two years, the seventh amendment to the EESR was proposed, consulted on, approved and ordered by the Province. The amendment includes new and updated standards for computers and monitors, residential windows, residential gas boilers and commercial gas boilers, as well as regulatory upkeep.

The amendment delivers on commitments made in CleanBC: “Between 2022 and 2025, new energy efficiency standards will be set for space heaters… and residential windows” (2.2 Improving Where We Live and Work). The standards also support the Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference, Market Transformation Roadmap for Energy Efficient Equipment in the Building Sector and priorities set under the Pacific Coast Collaborative.

The amendment will save 1.7 million gigajoules of energy and reduce 52,500 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per year by 2030. The GHG reductions in 2030 will be equivalent to taking 12,750 cars off the road. The energy saved in 2030 is estimated to be as much as the energy consumed by 16,000 British Columbia homes. The amendment is anticipated to save building owners $45 million in energy bills per year and have a net economic benefit of $114 million by 2030.

Computers and monitors:

The standard includes requirements for computers to improve efficiency while in “idle” mode and computer monitors to improve efficiency while in use. Regulated product types include desktop computers, laptop computers, small-scale servers and workstations manufactured after July 1, 2021. The standard harmonizes with state requirements in California and Washington, and is a Pacific Coast Collaborative harmonization priority. The standard will not create a significant change in the performance, interface or use of regulated products. An exemption for product verification is provided for products compliant to the California standard.

Residential windows:

The update will require all residential windows and sliding glass doors manufactured after Jan. 1, 2022, to have a U-value less than or equal to 1.61, an incremental improvement over the current minimum standard of U-value less than or equal to 1.80 (U-value is a measure of heat transmission through a building component).

Residential gas boilers:

The standard will require residential boilers manufactured after Jan. 1, 2022, to be more than or equal to 90% efficient. It will align with the federal residential boiler standard, which will take effect 18 months later on July 1, 2023. This standard is already required by the BC Building Code for new construction.

Commercial gas boilers:

The standard will require commercial gas boilers manufactured after Jan. 1, 2023, to have a minimum efficiency of 90%. It will align with the federal commercial boiler standard, which will take effect two years later on Jan. 1, 2025.

Regulatory upkeep

General service LED and small-diameter directional lamps:

The update will exempt screw-based light-emitting diode (LED) lamps and small-diameter directional LED lamps from efficacy, colour-rendering index and rated life requirements in the current regulation, effective immediately. These requirements are no longer needed, given LED lamp technology improvements. The changes will minimize an unnecessary regulatory burden for industry.

Commercial fenestration (windows):

The update will allow for commercial glazing to be listed on a certified product directory or verified by a designated tester. The update will provide an exemption for commercial fenestration installed in buildings built to the Energy Step Code.

Refrigerators, combination refrigerator-freezers and freezers:

The update makes minor revisions to the product definitions, efficiency standards and testing procedures for refrigerators, combination refrigerator-freezers and freezers. The update aligns the standard with the Government of Canada, which applies to products imported into Canada or shipped between provinces.