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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Energy Efficiency Goals and Requirements for Public Entities   

Last DSIRE Review: 08/21/2014
Program Overview:
State: Texas
Incentive Type: Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Lighting, Vending Machines (state), Others not specified
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Yes; specific technologies not specified
Applicable Sectors: Local Government, State Government, State-Funded Housing, Independent School Districts, State-Funded Higher Education, Certain Special Districts
Goal:Local Governments and Certain Special Districts: Adopt a goal to reduce electricity consumption by 5% each year for 10 years, beginning September 1, 2011; Submit a report to SECO annually regarding the entity’s annual electricity consumption and the progress and efforts to reduce electrical consumption.
Public Independent School districts: 5% energy consumption reduction from FY 2008; Adopt a Campus-wide Energy Master Plan.
Equipment/Products:Requirements vary by sector (see list in summary below)
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
Tex. Health & Safety Code § 388.005 (Texas Building Energy Performance Standards)
06/15/2001 (subsequently amended)
Authority 2:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
Tex. Educ. Code § 44.902 et seq. (Long-Range Energy Plan to Reduce Electric Energy (Independent School Districts))
Authority 3:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
Tex. Gov't Code § 2306.187 (State-Funded Public Housing)
Authority 4:
Date Effective:
Tex. Gov't Code § 2166.401 et seq. (State Agency Facility Energy and Water Conservation Standards)
Authority 5:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
Tex. Gov't Code § 447.009 (State Agency / State-Funded Institutes of Higher Education Energy and Water Management)
Authority 6:
Date Effective:
Tex. Gov't Code § 2311.001 et seq. (Critical Facilities and Combined Heat and Power)
09/01/2009 (subsequently amended)
Authority 7:
Date Effective:
Tex. Gov't Code § 2165.009 (State Agency / State-Funded Institutes of Higher Education (Light Bulbs; Vending Misers))

In 2001 the Texas legislature enacted public building energy efficiency standards to help the state comply with federal Clean Air Act standards (see S.B. 5). The Texas Energy Partnership (TEP), consisting of State Energy Conservation Office (SECO), the U.S. Department of Energy's Rebuild America Program, and ENERGY STAR, was formed to help the counties and cities affected by S.B. 5 and subsequent legislation. The TEP holds workshops on energy-efficient building technologies, energy management, and other energy issues and has created a website for affected political subdivisions to report their energy savings data and to access information on benchmarking, best practices for energy efficient buildings, and green building techniques.

There are numerous energy efficiency goals and requirements for various types of public and publicly-supported entities. The following descriptions highlight some of the most significant provisions (with the relevant statutory authorities in parentheses).

Political Subdivisions, Institutions of Higher Education, and State Agencies 

Energy Conservation Goals (Health & Safety Code § 388.005 and Government Code § 447.009)

Each political subdivision in the 41 urban and surrounding non-attainment counties, institution of higher education, or state agency is required to:

  • implement all cost-effective energy efficiency measures to reduce electricity consumption in existing facilities;
  • establish a goal to reduce the electric consumption by the entity by at least 5% each fiscal year for 10 years, beginning September 1, 2011; and
  • report efforts and progress annually to SECO, including in the report justification that the entity has already implemented all available cost-effective measures if the entity fails to attain the established goals.

State agencies are mandated to develop a plan for conserving energy that includes a percentage goal for reducing the agency’s use of electricity, gasoline, and natural gas. Each state agency must file a quarterly report with the governor and the Legislative Budget Board listing the goals identified in the agency’s energy conservation plan and a description of the progress made by the agency in meeting those goals.

Purchasing Requirements (Government Code § 2165.009)

A state agency or institution of higher education in charge and control of a state building is required to purchase for use in each type of light fixture in the building the commercially available model of light bulb that uses the fewest watts for the necessary luminous flux or light output that is compatible with the light fixture.

Building Construction and Renovation Requirements (Government Code § 2166.401 et seq. and § 2311.001 et seq.)

During the planning phase of proposed construction of a new state building, the agency or state institution of higher education undertaking the project must evaluate the economic feasibility of:

  • using energy-efficient architectural or engineering design alternatives; or
  • incorporating "alternative energy" systems to meet space heating or cooling, water heating, electrical loads, and interior lighting.  

Alternative energy is defined to include solar, biomass, wind, and geothermal energy sources. If economically feasible, the efficiency or alternative energy building design features must be included in the construction plans. 

When constructing or extensively renovating a "critical governmental facility" or replacing major heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment for a critical governmental facility, the state governing body in charge of the facility must evaluate whether equipping the facility with a combined heating and power system would result in expected energy savings that would exceed the expected costs of purchasing, operating, and maintaining the system over a 20-year period. Critical government facilities are those that “serve a critical public health or public safety function” (e.g., police and fire stations, prisons, hospitals, data centers, water and wastewater facilities, etc.) that have a peak electricity demand exceeding 500 kilowatts. If the expected energy savings exceed the expected costs, the state governing body in charge of the facility may equip the facility with a combined heating and power system. 

School Districts (Education Code § 44.901 et seq.)

The board of trustees of a school district are required to develop long-range energy plans to reduce the district’s energy use by 5% beginning in fiscal year 2008. The plan must detail strategies (e.g., facility design and construction improvements) for achieving energy efficiency that can be achieved without a net financial cost to the district over a 7-year period. The board may enter into energy savings performance contracts for the installation or implementation of energy and water conservation measures, such as building insulation; efficient lighting fixtures; heating, ventilation, or air-conditioning system modifications or replacements; and automatic energy control systems.

Residential Buildings Receiving State Assistance (Government Code § 2306.187)

New and rehabilitated single and multi-family dwellings that receive assistance from the state Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) also must meet specific energy efficiency standards. The DHCA is directed to establish minimum standards for such buildings that may include the use of ENERGY STAR appliances and products, energy-efficient alternative construction materials, air conditioning or heat pump equipment that exceeds the energy code, and air ducting systems inside the conditioned space. The standards will not apply to dwellings that receive weatherization assistance money from the department or money provided under the first-time home buyer program.

  Stephen Ross
State Energy Conservation Office
111 E. 17th Street
LBJ State Office Building, Room #111
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: (800) 531-5441 Ext.1770
Phone 2: (512) 463-1770
Fax: (512) 475-2569
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.