LETTER: Energy efficiency in buildings – City of Nelson needs to step up

From reader Nelson Rocha

I was pleased to read that the City of Kimberley responded to the Nelson city council’s decision to postpone the adoption of Step Code 3. A house can experience moisture problems whether it is a Step Code house or not – it’s about the quality of construction and the builder’s understanding and knowledge of how buildings work.

I suspect much of the resistance to Step Code stems from builders who are reluctant to learn new building techniques. There are plenty of resources available to builders on how to properly build airtight homes and avoid moisture problems. We need to reward builders who practise smarter ways of building, not those who want to carry on business as usual. Space heating accounts for 40-60 per cent of a Canadian home’s energy consumption and residential buildings alone are responsible for 13 per cent of our country’s greenhouse gases, so improving energy efficiency in homes is imperative — as long as our builders know how to do it properly.

As for the increased cost argument, the province has researched this heavily and has published a report on the cost implications of mandating the Step Code. They have also done case studies in B.C.’s different climate zones to get real world data on how much extra it costs to build to Step 3. The cost increase in our area is about two per cent. Step Code 3 homes are 20 per cent more energy efficient than homes built to minimum code standards.

It’s contradictory that the City of Nelson adopted a climate change plan in December but then immediately revoked its decision to implement something that would reduce GHG based on anecdotal evidence from a few contractors. If the city truly wants to get behind their Nelson Next plan, then they need to step up when it comes to buildings and energy efficiency.

Nelson Rocha


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