Energy Codes: El Paso Does It! Corpus Next?

On September 21st, the El Paso City Council approved new building codes, including the 2009 IECC energy code, designed to make new homes, commercial buildings and businesses more energy efficient. The measure — required by a new state ruling supported by Sierra Club from the State Energy Conservation Office –earlier this year, will mean El Paso becomes the latest city to adopt the latest version of the IECC codes, joining San Antonio, Waco, College Station, Austin, and Beaumont among others. The new codes are some 10 to 15 percent more energy efficient than existing state codes. While Dallas and Houston rely on the 2006 IECC codes, they have local amendments that already meet the 2009 IECC standards, though Houston will be proposing some additional amendments soon. At the El Paso meeting, both the AIA — the Architects — and the local Homebuilders supported the adoption of the 2009 codes, only a few months after the Homebuilders had vociferously opposed it after which Sierra Club and the City sponsored a forum to reassure folks it wouldn’t break the bank. In other local news, District 2 Councilmember Susie Byrd is working on a local resolution supported by the Sierra Club, many local businesses and the American Institute of Architects local chapter to create a greenbuilding task force to look at other measures to increase energy efficiency in local buildings. Look for a public meeting on the resolution October 5th.

Meanwhile, the Builders Association of Corpus Christ and their local greenbuilding effort, Coastal Bend Green Built, is teaming up with the City and utility AEP to begin discussing the mandatory adoption of the 2009 IECC code in the coming months. Corpus already has a robust greenbuilding program, but how the new codes would impact their energy star homes has some builders concerned. Sierra Club will be working with our friends in the building industry and the City to suggest local amendments that can help Corpus save money, save energy and produce local jobs! Look for news here on an upcoming public forum on the issue.

Bryan has also announced they will be holding meetings on the 2009 IECC codes in the coming weeks as cities throughout Texas get more efficient. Never knew building codes could be so exciting.

Finally, a bunch of cities will be sending folks to the International Code Council meeting next month in North Carolina, where the 2012 codes will be discussed. Sierra Club is part of a coalition supporting the 30% solution to make energy codes even more efficient.

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