Texas: "New Codes Aim to Cut Energy Use"

Some building codes in Texas are forcing new homes to be more energy-efficient.

"The international symbol for Texas' energy-guzzling habit is a monster pickup truck — pulling another pickup truck. But homes and other buildings are also big offenders, accounting for roughly 40 percent of the state's overall energy use.

The opportunity for savings — and to draw down some energy-related federal stimulus dollars — has spurred action. In January, Texas will adopt a building code that should cut the energy consumption of new single-family homes by more than 15 percent, according to the Energy Systems Laboratory at the Texas A&M University System. The state tightened codes for commercial and industrial buildings and other residential buildings in April.

Big Texas cities tend to jump out ahead of the statewide building codes, which have often lagged nationally. This month, the Houston City Council passed a measure requiring new homes to be about 5 percent more efficient than the forthcoming statewide code, an effort to cut down on homes' energy use and burnish Houston's green credentials. Over the next few years, Houston will consider more requirements that could put the city some 15 percent above the state code in terms of energy savings."

Kate Galbraith reports for the Texas Tribune December 17, 2011.

Source: Texas Tribune, 12/20/2011