The Step Code - The Emergence Of Passive Buildings & Energy Efficiency

At PowerHouse, we come to work to make a positive contribution to healthy, sustainable buildings and processes. Luckily, building codes across Canada are changing rapidly to deal with climate change and create more energy efficient buildings. British Columbia’s "Energy Step Code" is an example of this.

As part of our work toward making a positive contribution, we have partnered with Bullfrog Power to create a better, cleaner world by supporting green energy and by reducing our organization's environmental impact. By working with Bullfrog Power, which works to transform the electricity landscape by offering a range of clean energy sources, we are also able to support the development of renewable energy projects across Canada.

In addition to partnering with Bullfrog Power, some of the products we deem specifically to help deal with environmental challenges include:

Products for Canada's Energy Step Code (PDF)

AIR BARRIERS & TAPES – Reduce air leakage and improve energy efficiency


Vycor env-S, a vapour permeable, fully adhered water & air barrier membrane will seriously improve a building’s energy efficiency when properly installed over the exterior substrate (i.e. sheathing). Third party independent reports suggest up to a 5X greater air barrier versus common building wraps.


PassivTape is an air barrier sealing tape designed to reduce air leakage the building’s exterior envelope. Builders will tape housewrap joints, seams in plywood, interior poly and virtually any other penetrations in order to drastically improve their “blower door test” results. PassivTape also holds the Emicode EC1 Plus European standards label put forth by GEV which means the product meets the strict standards for excellent indoor air quality.


PassivPanels seal cable and pipe wall penetrations to prevent air leakage and stop moisture penetration. They form an integral part of a high performing air barrier system, helping to achieve new energy building code regulations.


It’s still important to highlight Typar Housewrap and Metrowrap (commercial), when taped at all seams and detailed accordingly, makes for a great, vapour permeable exterior air & water barrier.

EXTERIOR INSULATION – Improve Energy Efficiency & Building Durability


Fire and moisture-resistant while maintaining vapour permeability to allow for drying, Powerwool’s Rigiboard One Insulation was designed to be a more compression resistant exterior insulation than the leading mineral wool product. In any event, the R/RSI value and ultimately the energy efficiency of a building greatly increases using mineral wool as an exterior insulation.


A PowerHouse invention! This rigid exterior insulation (expanded polystyrene) with embedded rainscreen channels virtually eliminates the need for wood furring and offers the applicator time and labour savings while draining moisture and promoting drying. Although our hope is that a commercially viable alternative to foam plastics becomes readily available in the future, in the meantime, EPS is a good locally-sourced material expanded with steam (water) making it one of the lower carbon footprint foam plastics available.


We offer a number water based and/or LOW VOC primers and adhesives including a number of Primer’s by GCP and sealants by Lepage (QuadMax). We do our best to promote LOW VOC options for the health of end-users. For more information on these products please visit the pertinent areas on our website.

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