New solar building requirements on agenda

Coldstream to implement solar hot water ready regulations for new homes

A greener approach to building could soon be mandatory for new homes constructed in Coldstream.

A solar hot water ready regulation is in the works in Coldstream, which would be required of all new single-family homes constructed.

Making a house solar ready will add approximately $200 to $500 to the cost of a new home. It would involve ensuring roof trusses are designed for additional loading for solar panels, providing control and solar hot water tank space in a utility room and accommodation of a pipe run (or chase) from utility room to attic space.

“It’s pre-planning,” said Bob Bibby, Coldstream’s building official, adding that it will not be mandatory until the province passes legislation (anticipated sometime in 2012).

Once passed Coldstream would be added to the 36 communities already signed onto the initiative.

The only way to get out of the requirements is to prove that solar energy is not attainable.

“If you can demonstrate that you are in the shade it’s not mandatory then,” said Bibby.

It is also anticipated that the regulation will not be mandatory for additions, but is recommended.

“Unless you’re doing a total rebuild, I don’t think it’s possible to do a retrofit,” said Coun. Pat Cochrane.

The province of B.C. passed new legislation in June that requires construction of new single -family dwellings and single-family dwellings with suites to be built to be solar hot water ready.

District goes solar

Coldstream wants to show the community its commitment to the environment.

The district is installing solar panels on the old fire department building and will be documenting the power production online.

Once the system is up and running, the public can view watt production at any given time, along with comparisons from previous days and months, on the district’s website (

“We will be able to create, at least, a showcase to show the community something environmentally sound,” said Coun. Maria Besso.


The system will include 1.6 kWatts of solar panels and monitor. Coldstream has budgeted $20,000 for the project and awarded C4 Electric and Solar, of Enderby, the contract for installation.