The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and its partner organization the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD) launched the Energy Efficiency in Buildings Houston initiative in 2014 to support the development of ambitious and practical strategies for reducing building energy consumption by 30% or more in the Houston market. This initiative is also joined by the City Energy Project, which is supporting the City of Houston, along with nine other cities, to help cut energy waste in large buildings, make them healthier environments and more profitable investments through energy efficiency. This website is a dynamic repository of case studies and information material that can be used by all. In this site, you fill find:
EEB-Houston Working Groups
The October 2014 Lab discussions identified a number of concerns and barriers to energy efficiency in the Houston market, leading to recommendations for how to address them. Stakeholder groups have been formed to carry out these actions, with oversight from the WBCSD, US BCSD and the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC).
Why Energy Efficiency in Buildings?
There is a powerful business case for more energy-efficient buildings. Houston’s building energy consumption compared to that of transport and industry is 40% of final/primary energy consumption. A modest 25% energy efficiency improvement would save substantial sums for building owners and occupiers and contribute significantly to the spending power of consumers and businesses. The cost savings will free up cash for businesses to reinvest and consumers to spend on goods and services.
A vibrant market of more highly efficient buildings will bring jobs and other benefits for the city. A 30% energy saving in the commercial sector alone would translate into nearly 20,000 new jobs for regional energy efficiency contractors, the supply chain and the service sector over a five year period. The region would also be more competitive in attracting and retaining people because more sustainable cities with energy efficient and green buildings attract talented people and their families, especially the new generation of millennial workers.
Houston has a strong economy and continues to expand, and energy efficiency is an effective solution to keep energy demand from exceeding current capacity. In 2013, Houston’s main electricity generator, CenterPoint, delivered over 51 million MWh to its customers. The City of Houston permitted $7.3 billion in construction in 2013/14, a 39% increase over the previous year. Energy consumption is projected to grow significantly over the coming years, even if there may be a temporary impact from the drop in energy prices. An achievable increase in energy efficiency could avoid the need to invest in 10 mid-size power plants and free over half a billion dollars for other spending.
Houston has made progress on energy efficiency, particularly in Class A properties and through public initiatives. But the size and scale of the market means more is needed, with the involvement of the broader private sector. Houston follows some of the most progressive public policies and building energy codes for energy efficient buildings. It also leads through example by mandating LEED and Energy Star performance of its properties for public disclosure. Houston’s residential building code is 15 percent above the minimum requirements of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Further, its commercial energy code meets federal and state standards. Despite this foundation and the evidence for capturing value from energy efficiency, many Houston properties still waste energy and are not taking advantage of the multiple potential benefits.
It will require a major effort to raise market awareness on energy efficiency, helped by the Mayor’s commitment. It is clear that awareness of the potential benefits is a major barrier to greater energy efficiency. The EEB Lab occurred at an opportune moment, following the announcement by Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker at the UN Summit on Climate Change in September 2014 that Houston would cut CO2 emissions by 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050.
EEB Houston Technical Partners:
Architend, ALC, C40, CenterPoint, City of Houston, EDF, Equilibrium Capital, Gensler, HARC, Hines, IMT, Keeping PACE, Klein ISD, NRG, Rice University, Shell, SPEER, Thompson & Knight LLP, ULI Houston, US BCSD, USGBC and WBCSD and its member companies (AGC, AkzoNobel, ArcelorMittal, GDF SUEZ, Infosys, Lafarge, Schneider Electric, SGS, Siemens, Skanska, UTC).
Architend, Ascentergy, Avison Young, Baker Katz, Buckhead Investment Partners, Cadence Bank, CBRE, City-Housing and Community Development Department, Cousins Properties, Crimson Services, ERM, Gensler, HARC, Hines, Houston ISD, HTS Engineering, Jacobs, Kensinger Donnelly, Klein ISD, McCord Development, Metro National, Moody Rambin, New Hope Housing, Nexos Resource Partners, Pecan Street Research Institute, Rice University, Shell, STG Design, TEAM Solutions, Trammell Crow, Tellepsen, US GBC, Way Holding Engineering, Texas A&M Energy Systems Lab.
The Houston Energy Efficiency in Buildings project is a private sector-led initiative to bring together a diverse group of local stakeholders, thought leaders, and subject matter experts in the Houston market to define a set of ambitious, practical strategies for reducing building energy consumption by 30% or more.
To add your voice to the effort or learn more about EEB in Houston, fill out this short form and we’ll be in touch with next steps.
Contact the US BCSD: