Dang it’s HOT!  The recent heat dome that has engulfed Texas for more than two weeks once again brings light to the need for increased energy efficiency measures and increased building and energy code standards to help Texans offset the mind-numbing temperatures. As ERCOT issues heat-related grid watches over and over and over during this summer, SPEER continues to voice our concern around the lack of one simple measure that can have an impact, Energy Efficiency (EE). 

Texas for far too long has been dormant in their efforts to add increased EE to the overall portfolio for energy viability across the state.  As the state focuses on adding and building more supply, we too need to apply the same effort in controlling demand and reducing usage to meet the ever-growing energy needs beyond just relying on large industrial demand response and the goodness of Texan’s hearts to adjust thermostats and appliance use.

A recent report by The American Council for Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) shows that cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency measures in Texas would have a minimum of 2:1 impact on the ever-rising power bills saving Texan’s potentially $20 per month at a cost of around $7 per month.  ACEEE also notes that increased EE programs, coupled with residential demand response, would cost roughly 1/10, if not less, than the cost to build new generation plants, which, by the way, take YEARS to get going.  Efficiency measures can begin immediately to address our growing state’s soaring energy needs!

New and effective energy efficiency measures could be harnessed to produce even stronger results if Texas would move forward in adopting much more effective building and energy codes.  Recently vetoed legislation would have allowed the State Energy Conservation Office in Texas, SECO, to move forward in adopting codes that are more up-to-date with current building practices, making new homes and buildings, and retrofitting existing ones, to be more energy efficient. And why wouldn’t consumers want this? These stronger energy codes would deliver an estimated savings of $4.5 billion in energy costs over the next 30 years to Texas residents. Consumers want a home or building that can withstand both the high and low temperatures of the increasingly volatile weather patterns.  A home built with more efficient materials and building standards makes that hot summer day easier to withstand, not to mention reducing the overall load on the power grid, because IT USES LESS ELECTRICITY!

Imagine having stronger energy efficiency programs in Texas coupled with more up to date and modern building and energy codes.  Texans across the board would be able to live in comfort, have a few more dollars in their pockets, and help to contribute to a more resilient and reliable power grid.  Are any of those things bad for Texas and Texans?