The City of Houston is undertaking efforts and continues to develop programs to improve energy efficiency and conservation in the building sector. The goal is to continue to put in place cost effective and beneficial energy efficiency projects that will save money as well as lower the City’s carbon footprint.
- The City of Houston is taking a multifaceted approach to ensure that all of its buildings operate efficiently, cost effectively and sustainably. Buildings in the City’s portfolio make up 40% of total energy use, making building energy efficiency a critical component of a mitigation and sustainability strategy. The City of Houston’s goal is to achieve 20% energy savings by 2020 as a community partner in the Department of Energy’s Better Building Challenge.
- In order to lead by example and demonstrate the benefits of facility benchmarking, the City has conducted data collection and benchmarking of city facilities and is releasing building energy performance data for all municipal facilities over 25,000 SF. Benchmarking allows the City to measure building performance over time, prioritize those facilities with the highest energy intensity and take appropriate action if building performance diminishes. The City expects that benchmarking will help it achieve ENERGY STAR® Certification, as well as maintain this certification through constant data monitoring over time. This benchmarking is being done in conjunction with the City’s participation in the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge.
- The Houston Green Office Challenge is a friendly competition for commercial property owners, managers and office tenants that celebrates achievements in greening operations through Mayoral and media recognition. This Houston-wide program will bring local, state and national sustainability experts together with businesses and properties to learn and engage in both introductory and high performance green building practices through free workshops and training. The Challenge also helps participants improve their sustainability and work toward third-party green building certifications such as ENERGY STAR and LEED®.
- In 2004, Houston adopted a Green Building Resolution which set a target of LEED® Silver for new City construction, replacement facilities, and major renovations of more than 10,000 square feet.
- The Municipal Energy Efficiency Program has utilized energy performance contracts to retrofit 5.2 million square feet since 2008. Those buildings are achieving energy reductions approaching 30 percent, with average paybacks of less than 10 years.
- The City has positively influenced the development of energy efficient commercial, residential and public buildings via changes in building codes and ordinances. Ongoing comprehensive upgrades to the City’s building codes, permitting practices and policies are improving the real estate market to make Houston a leader in energy efficiency for new construction and major renovations.
This strategy to reduce energy consumption through increased energy efficiency measures was and continues to be based on several key principles including:
- Identify low hanging fruit first
- Leverage existing funding and programs
- Long term sustainability
- Job creation
- Significant impact
The City of Houston continues to develop at a significant rate. To sustainably grow, the City will continue to build upon the existing energy efficiency and conservation strategies. The maintenance of energy efficiency gains will occur with grater data transparency via energy management systems, smart behavioral management programs, and continuous commissioning of facilities. This long range strategy will continue to move Houston towards an energy efficient future.
For more information about the City’s sustainability projects, visit www.greenhoustontx.gov