Executive Director, Environment Texas
Executive Director, Environment Texas
Environment Texas Research and Policy Center
For Immediate Release: March 8 2012
Contact: Luke Metzger, Director, Environment Texas, 512-479-0388, [email protected]
Energy Efficient Buildings Would Reduce Global Warming Pollution, Save Texas Families Over $500 Annually
AUSTIN- Texas families could save $525 every year on their electricity bills by 2030 if the government invests in the energy efficiency of our buildings today, according to a new report by Environment Texas Research and Policy Center. Saving energy in our buildings would also help Texas’ fight against global warming, reducing global warming pollution from buildings by 30 percent—the equivalent of taking about 30.4 million cars off the road.
“It’s time to build better,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas Research and Policy Center. “Bold efficiency measures for buildings can cut energy use in our homes and businesses by 30 percent by 2030, reducing pollution and saving consumers money.”
Right now, 40 percent of the energy used in America goes to heat, cool, and power our buildings. And because much of this energy comes from dirty and dangerous sources like coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power, this accounts for nearly half of global warming pollution in the country. Furthermore, much of this energy is wasted, flying out of leaky doors and windows. This high level of energy consumption pumps billions of tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere and costs Americans nearly $4 billion every year.
Our report, Building a Better America: Saving Energy and Money with Efficiency, analyzes the benefits Texas would see if we committed to dramatically improving the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings. The report uses government data to estimate reduced energy consumption, decreased fossil fuel use, money saved on energy bills, and global warming pollution prevented in 2020 and 2030. A copy of the report can be found at http://environmenttexas.org/reports/txe/building-better-america.
Making our buildings more efficient would:
- Reduce the projected energy use of Texas’ buildings 30 percent by 2030
- Prevent the emission of 155 million tons of global warming pollution every year by 2030, the equivalent of taking about 30.4 million cars off the road.
- Save the average Texas family of four $525 a year by 2030.
“That’s the best part about making energy efficiency improvements,” Metzger said. “They pay for themselves as consumers enjoy lower energy bills and a cleaner environment year after year.”
Environment Texas Research and Policy Center is calling for policies that will help us reach our efficiency goals, including:
- Steady improvements to building codes over time so that all new buildings are increasingly efficient, culminating in a zero net energy standard by 2030, when new buildings should be so efficient that they can produce all the energy they need on site using renewable energy like wind and solar.
- Investing in energy retrofits and weatherization to improve the efficiency of existing buildings 30 percent by 2030.
- Supporting innovative financing mechanisms that will unleash public and private investment in building efficiency.
Environment Texas, the Sierra Club, the Alliance to Save Energy, and others are also calling on cities across Texas and the state to adopt the newly published 2012 IECC, which is nearly 17% more efficient than the 2009 International Residential Code that state law requires for Texas cities by January 1, 2012.
“With concern over the adequacy of our electrical generation for this summer and next, now is the time for the state and municipalities to continue to upgrade their minimum building construction codes,” noted Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Texas’s own Energy Systems Laboratory just concluded that the 2012 IECC codes are between 10 and 20 percent more efficient than the state minimum standard, and we should go ahead and adopt them now as the new state minimum, even as local municipalities work for wider goals like green construction and net-zero homes.”
As documented in this report, successful efficiency programs and incentives at the federal, state, and local level are already paying off, saving consumers money and dramatically reducing energy use. For example, the Austin Energy Green Building Program has saved over 53.6 million kilowatt hours of electricity since its creation in 1991.
“There are already thousands of super-efficient buildings all around the country, including the LCRA Redbud Center right here in Austin” concluded Metzger. “Most buildings last for decades, so investing in energy efficiency locks in savings for years to come and builds a strong foundation for the future of our environment and our economy.”
Environment Texas is a statewide, citizen-funded advocate for clean air, clean water, and open spaces.