About EnerGuide Reports for Vancouver Renovation Permits

As of January 1, 2015, one- or two- family homes completing renovations valued at over $5,000 in the City of Vancouver require reports from an energy advisor to obtain a renovation permit in order to comply with the updated City of Vancouver Building Bylaw (VBBL) 10908. Book a home energy evaluation today!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Do I Need to Do?

  • Before you renovate, complete an EnerGuide rating system (ERS) home energy evaluation.
  • You will receive two documents by email from your energy advisor:
    • Homeowner Information Sheet - provides you with modeled energy and GHG usage in your home.
    • Renovation Upgrade Report – provides you with customized, prioritized, building-science based advice on how to save energy in your home.
    • Renovation Energy Upgrade Proposal - quantifies and summarizes the energy upgrade requirements according to the Vancouver Building Bylaw.
  • In some cases, energy efficiency improvements will be required in order to pass City inspection. Requirements are summarized in the table below. For details, visit the City of Vancouver’s website
Construction valueUpgrade level
Renovation applications with a value greater than $5,000 but not more than $25,000Provide an EnerGuide (ERS) report completed within the last 4 years and a Renovation Energy Upgrade Proposal. Homes built after 2009 do not need to complete an EnerGuide home evaluation. If work includes replacement of boiler or furnace, annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) must be equal to or greater than 90%.
Renovation applications with a value greater than $25,000 but not more than $50,000 

As above, plus:

  • If EGH report indicates greater than 5 air changes per hour, building envelope air sealing is required.
Renovation applications with a value greater than $50,000As above, plus:
  • If attic insulation is less than R12, increase to R28. 
  • If attic insulation is equal to or greater than R12, increase to R40. 
  • Flat roof and cathedral ceiling insulation must be upgraded to a minimum of R14.
 

2. Do I need a permit for my renovations?
See here for information on when a permit is required. If necessary, contact the City of Vancouver's Development and Building Services centre at 604-873-7611 for specific information to your project. 

3. What condition does my house need to be in to have the energy evaluation?
Your home must be "habitable", including the following:

  • Space and water heating systems must be on site at the time of the evaluation. The heating system has to be (or have been in the case of a broken system) capable of heating the home to 21oC
  • The building envelope must be in a suitable condition for an airtightness test. Ceilings, exterior walls, foundation walls, exposed floors, interior finish, windows, doors, and skylights must be intact.
  • Full details are outlined here.

4. What if my home is not in a condition to have an evaluation?
If your home is not in a state where an energy evaluation can be performed, you must: 

  1. You are required to submit the Renovation Energy Upgrade Proposal to obtain your permit. Contact us at 604.255.5734 and we can have this set up for you.
  2. Complete your energy evaluation as soon as your renovations are completed and the home is in a state where an energy evaluation can take place.
  3. The City of Vancouver will ask for the Homeowner Information Sheet from the energy evaluation during the final inspection.

5. I live in a heritage home. Are there any exemptions for heritage features?

Heritage home do require a renovation permit.  (see Question 1 above).
However, registered heritage homes or those deemed to have heritage significance by the Chief Building Official's office may be exempt from certain VBBL elements. 
For more information, refer to the Vancouver Heritage Foundation's Introduction for Homeowners: The 2014 Vancouver Building Bylaw and the City of Vancouver's Bulletin 2014-007-BU

6. What is air sealing, and how do I prove to the City that I’ve completed it?
During your energy evaluation, your energy advisor will test the air leakage in your home using a blower door depressurization test. Your air leakage results will be recorded in your reports. If your home has more than 5 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals of pressure (5ACH @ 50Pa), you will be required to complete air sealing upgrades, which are a simple, inexpensive, and very effective way to improve home comfort and efficiency. Your advisor will let you know about ensuring adequate ventilation and if there are any concerns with backdrafting of combustion gases when you complete air sealing improvements.

When your home is 5 ACH or higher at the pre-retrofit evaluation, you need to demonstrate at least 2 ACH reduction by:

  1. Performing a post-retrofit evaluation, where we will complete a blower door test again; or
  2. Present documentation indicating a minimum of $800 spent towards draftproofing, including supplies, and labour.

In either case, save all your receipts from your draftproofing purchases. 

Air Sealing Resources:

7. What is an EnerGuide home evaluation?
An EnerGuide home evaluation with an energy advisor provides you with expert advice and a customized retrofit plan so that you can save money on your energy bills, improve your home’s health and comfort, and reduce your home’s environmental impact. Read more.

8. Will I need to complete a post-retrofit evaluation as well?

In general, post-retrofit evaluations are not required. However the following cases require the completion of a post-retrofit evaluation:

  • Major renovations
  • Major additions
  • Stratification
  • Adding or removing units in the home
  • Compromised envelope
  • Projects that have done work without permit
  • Projects claiming air tightness as an alternative upgrade measure

If unsure, speak to the City of Vancouver to clarify whether a post-retrofit EnerGuide home evaluation is required for your renovation.