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Mayor Parker announces new energy standards and safe boating program

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Mayor Parker announces new energy standards Jan 8 2014
video by Marc Pembroke

At her weekly press conference following the City Council Meeting on Wednesday, Jan 8, Mayor Parker announced two measures to help improve life for Houstonians.

First, thanks to a $4500 grant received by the Parks and Recreation Department from the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, (RBFF) to participate in its program called “Take Me Fishing/” encouraging young people to try boating and fishing, while providing advice for safety measures for boating this summer in Houston's parks, bayous, and lakes.

According to its website, “The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating and thereby increase public awareness and appreciation of the need to protect, conserve and restore this nation's aquatic natural resources.”

The Mayor also drew attention to an ordinance amending the Houston Residential Energy Code. The Code was enacted in 2011 and implemented the standards then recognized by the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. Each year the City of Houston has amended the local code to require 5% more energy efficiency than the 2009 IECC. The local amendments also required that an ordinance be placed on the City Council Agenda each year to increase the local efficiency standards by up to 5% if economic conditions so permitted. For this reason the City has increased the energy standards by 5% each year.

Today Houston City Council approved another 5 percent increase in the Houston Residential Energy Conservation Code (Item 11 on the agenda approved unanimously).

According to the Mayor's Press release.”

Mayor Parker stated “With this increase the local minimum energy efficiency requirements for new construction of one and two family homes, townhouses and apartments up to three stories in height is 15 percent above what is mandated by state law. This is the third year in a row the local code has been increased by five percent.

“Houston is a hot and humid city, consuming high amounts of energy to temper the indoor climate,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “Anything we can do to ensure homes are more energy efficient will not only help us reduce energy usage, it will also help residents save money. These new codes are vital to keeping Houston a leader in energy efficiency.”

Currently, state law designates the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) as the energy code in Texas. In 2011, Houston City Council adopted a stricter version of the IECC. An update of the IECC yet to be approved by the state is expected to mirror Houston’s requirements.

“With this action, Houston will take the next step, to continue setting a nationally high standard for energy efficiency of new home construction in the Houston area, resulting in lowered energy consumption for heating, cooling, and lighting”, said Daniel Krueger, P.E., Director of the Department of Public Works and Engineering.

“Houston has done it again, blazing trails for clean energy,” said Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger. “We applaud Mayor Parker and the council for helping make sure Houston buildings are energy efficient, a critical step towards cleaning up our air and protecting our climate. Together with investments in wind power and electric vehicles, today’s vote is helping Houston rocket toward a cleaner, healthier future.”

The change in Houston’s code was developed in collaboration with the Construction Industry Council and Greater Houston Builders Association and had the support of Environment Texas; Sierra Club, Lone Star Chapter; South Central Partnership for Energy Efficiency and Air Alliance Houston.

In addition to adopting new residential building energy efficiency codes, the City itself is continuing to retrofit municipal buildings to make them more energy efficient, achieving upwards of 30% energy reductions; utilizing new technologies, such as SmarteBuilding, to monitor real time energy usage for efficient operations; and, has recently purchased 140 MW of green power, making it the largest municipal purchaser of renewable energy in the nation. These and other efforts have produced positive results. The City’s municipal operations emissions have realized a 26% decrease from the 2007 greenhouse gas emissions inventory. The City has committed and invested in many programs that reduce cost, improve efficiencies, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.”

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