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Cleaner air, lower energy bills from stronger energy efficiency standards

Cleaner air, lower energy bills from stronger energy efficiency standards

March 12, 2021 at 8:50 am  BC, News, Politics

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.

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