Thanks in part to Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter and its allies, new buildings in Texas will be more energy-efficient, providing long-term savings and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The 2009 International Energy Conservation Code is now the official energy code for new commercial construction, and the 2009 International Residential Code governs construction of new single-family homes. The codes will ensure the design of energy efficient buildings, including the efficiency of elements such as mechanical, water heating, electrical, and lighting equipment. Energy efficiency is a key part of the equation to move the nation beyond coal. The Lone Star Chapter’s administrative advocacy, public education, and organizing helped bring construction in Texas into the twenty-first century.
The Lone Star Chapter successfully advocated for increased energy efficiency goals for large electrical utilities at the Texas Public Utility Commission and worked with Austin Energy to adopt a new Generation Plan with a 35 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2020. Chapter staff also recommended energy efficiency and programs to reduce energy demand in the transition away from dirty coal. As a member of the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition, the Lone Star Chapter also helped encourage the International Code Council to adopt 2012 building codes with even higher efficiency standards.