Texas is the fifth largest energy consumer in the world, representing 12 percent of the nation’s total energy use. Recognizing that, the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) partners with a number of entities across Texas, including public and private organizations, to develop new methods of reducing energy costs while maximizing efficiency.
SECO’s message is rather simple: real change can create real savings. But the initiative’s goal goes beyond rhetoric and outreach. SECO, a division of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, provides online tools to help individuals, state and local governments, and businesses take immediate steps toward creating savings and efficiency. It also has trained more than 2,500 Texas schoolteachers in an energy saving and conservation curriculum that already has reached 375,000 students.
“Demand for electricity has increased by 20 percent in the last 10 years. We expect that demand for resources to continue growing.”
— Felix Lopez, SECO
Coding and Decoding
To make life easier for builders and contractors, SECO recently created an online video workshop to help understand recent changes to the Texas Building Energy Code.
The workshop provides an overview of the major changes from previous editions of the International Energy Conservation Code, which Texas adopted by rule reference, and will serve Texas builders, engineers and architects.
“Demand for electricity has increased by 20 percent in the last 10 years,” says SECO’s Felix Lopez. “We expect that demand for resources to continue growing, which underscores the importance of Texas using the most efficient building energy codes as possible.”
Changes to the updated code include more energy efficient windows, better insulation and air conditioning duct systems tested for leakage.
“In June, SECO started a pilot program with city of Austin Code Compliance officials to test new compliance software, iComply,” says Lopez. “The software became available in July to all code compliance and building officials on the SECO website.”
iComply also will create a database of new construction and allow the state to track whether it is on target to meet the 2017 90 percent compliance deadline set forth by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Also coming is an online Compliance Center that will provide additional videos, online classes and a resource library for builders, designers and city code officials.
SECO Offers Tools to Help
Everyone from teachers to builders can start making smarter decisions involving energy efficiency and energy cost savings right away.
See the SECO website’s Consumer Tools and Rebates section for a database of rebates that can put real dollars in your pocket following your next appliance purchase. Also for consumers is a list of practical ways to save energy and money by making smarter decisions with cooling, insulating and sealing various areas of your home or business. TR