Beginning January 1, 2024, Burnaby builders will be required to adhere to the strongest carbon emissions standards for large projects, following the unanimous approval of new carbon standards by the city council on December 11. The approved standards authorize city staff to establish rules aligning with the province’s new Zero Carbon Step Code.


The Zero Carbon Step Code focuses on greenhouse gas emissions targets and mandates the electrification of space heating and domestic hot water systems, as outlined in a staff report. While acknowledging that builders and property owners may face additional costs as part of their projects, the council aims to directly limit carbon emissions from new buildings.


In May, Councilor Alison Gu requested staff consideration for requiring the highest rating, zero carbon performance, for large buildings such as condo towers, apartments, and offices, along with the second-highest rating for smaller residential buildings.


The Zero Carbon Step Code comprises four levels:


  • Zero Carbon Performance: Typically requires decarbonization of all systems (space heating and domestic hot water).
  • Strong Carbon Performance: In most cases, requires decarbonization of both space heating and domestic hot water systems.
  • Moderate Carbon Performance: In most cases, requires decarbonization of either space heating or domestic hot water systems.
  • Measure-only: Requires measurement of a building’s emissions without reductions, intended to build knowledge and capacity.


Starting January 1, larger and complex buildings must align with Zero Carbon Performance, while smaller residential buildings must align with Strong Carbon Performance. Smaller residential buildings are expected to transition to Zero Carbon Performance by January 1, 2025.


Source: Times Colonist