Comptroller Combs: Update Building Energy Codes Now

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2012 Energy Codes are up to 30 percent more efficient

Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

AUSTIN – A diverse group of stakeholders today called on Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Susan Combs to raise the minimum energy building codes for new residential and commercial buildings from 2009 to 2012 standards.

“With Texas facing a resource adequacy challenge both in water and in electricity, now is the time for the Comptroller to take action and raise Texas’ energy building codes from the 2009 standards to the 2012 standards,” explained Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.

Reed, who sent the letter to Combs today, highlighted the wide variety of worker, conservation, business and other individuals and organizations calling on Combs and her State Energy Conservation Office to raise the standards, as many states, including Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts have already done. Nearly 30 Texas cities, from Amarillo to Austin, have either adopted the 2012 code or will do so by year end.

“The Energy Systems Laboratory at Texas A & M already ran an analysis back in 2011, received hundreds of supportive comments, and recommended in August of 2012 that the Comptroller and SECO go ahead and adopt these new codes,” noted Bill Fay, with the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition.

The Texas A & M analysis found that homes built to the new energy codes – known as the 2012 Residential Code and the 2012 International Energy Conservation Codes – would save a homeowner up to 25% per year in Dallas and up to 20% in Houston in total energy use, while reducing the summer peak use – the most energy used on a hot summer hour – by 14 to 26 percent depending on the area of the state.

“This isn’t rocket science,” explained Luke Metzger, with Environment Texas, “It’s better windows, better insulation, better duct systems and tighter, more comfortable buildings.”

With the state facing concerns over adequate energy to meet peak demands, and adequate water for homeowners, requiring better more efficient buildings is one way to help Texas meet its needs – while saving consumers on their energy and water bills. The new codes also help business as much of the required insulation, windows and other components are manufactured here in Texas.

“This would be a win for business, a win for the environment and a win for consumers,” explained Deron Patterson, with PPG Industries.

A copy of the letter can be found at, including a list of cities that have already adopted the 2012 codes. A copy of the ESL recommendation from August of 2012 can be found at