Texas Adopts New Building Energy Performance Standards

Media Contacts

AUSTIN – Today the State Energy Conservation Office published new building energy performance standards in the Texas Register. As of January 2012, new single family homes will have to meet the energy efficiency provisions of the 2009 International Residential Code, which will cut energy use as much as 15% in new homes (compared to previous standards). As of April 2011, other residential, commerical and industrial construction will have to meet the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code, leading to a similar energy savings. Environment Texas applauded the adoption of the rules, but questioned the delay in implementation. As the new rules for single family homes go in to effect in 2012, new international codes will already have been adopted, putting Texas three years behind.

Statewide adoption of the building codes came only after several major Texas cities, including Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin, had improved their building codes. Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger urged Texas cities to continue to lead the charge for efficient buildings, with a goal of having all new homes be so efficient that, with the help of on-site solar, they can produce all the energy they need. An 2009 Environment Texas study found by 2030 such “Net Zero Energy Homes” would:

  • Reduce Texas homeowners’ energy bills by more $5.4 billion. With incentive programs available now, a net-zero energy home could cost about $40 per month less to own than a standard home.
  • Save more than 25 billion kilowatt hours per year – eliminating the need to build seven large (500 MW) coal-fired power plants.
  • Prevent 18 million metric tons of global warming pollution, the equivalent of making one of every six cars and trucks in Texas pollution-free.
  • Cut smog pollution by 7.5 million pounds.
  • Save 10 billion gallons of water.

“Let’s not waste any more time, any more energy, or any more money on outdated buildings,” said Metzger. “We need to invest in efficiency today so we can start building a better tomorrow.” 

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Texas was required to consider adoption of the new building codes, in order to receive $3.1 billion for state energy programs such as the Comptroller’s State Energy Conservation Office (SECO).