Texas Energy Code Filed Study

Texas is one of eight states funded by DOE to conduct Single Family Field Studies. For the Texas study, SPEER collaborated with the Texas State Energy Conservation Office, SECO and the National Association of State Energy Officials, NASEO.

The goals of these studies were to:

    • Quantify the impact of an intensive, focused outreach and education initiative on energy efficiency in new home construction
    • Establish a baseline for energy efficient practices in new construction
    • Provide the business case for private sector investment in energy efficiency

Because Texas is such a large state, we decided to collect data in 30 counties in southeast Texas. An analysis of building codes and the high prevalence of large production builders in Texas gives us confidence that construction practices in this area are representative of the state except for the differences between climate zones.

Study Timeline:

Phase 1 of the Field Study was the initial data collection phase. Field teams gathered data on energy efficiency measures in about 140 new single family homes under construction in 2015. This data was analyzed and five high potential energy savings measures were identified.

In Phase 2, Outreach and Education, SPEER conducted an intensive education and training effort targeting code officials, builders and contractors. The goal of the training was to build a common understanding of the energy code among all stakeholders with a special focus on the high potential savings measures.

Phase 3 repeated the data collection effort following the same protocols as Phase 1 but on homes under construction in 2018. The 2018 data was then analyzed and compared to the Phase 1 data.

High level findings:

    • The aggregate of homes studied in Phase 1 were slightly less efficient than the 2015 IECC while Phase 3 was slightly more efficient than a 2015 IECC home.
    • In Texas there was improvement in efficiency in all of the high potential savings measures between Phase 1 and Phase 3
    • The potential savings (wasted energy) for these measures was reduced from $4.8M/year in Phase 1 to $1.2M/year in Phase 3
    • Over the course of this study, Texas home buyers saved money on utility bills and were able to buy homes that are more efficient, safer and more durable.

The field components of the study are complete, the Phase 1 initial state report was completed in 2017 and the final project report is expected in be finished in 2019. For more information on the Texas study and links to additional field studies visit our Field Study Results.

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