To: Mayor Lee Leffingwell
From: Texas BlueGreen Alliance steering committee members
Re: Council agenda item #116: replacing Article 12 of City Code Chapter 25-12 to adopt the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code and local amendments.
The Texas BlueGreen Alliance – a consortium of business, labor, environmental, and community organizations – is pleased to offer some brief comments in support of the adoption of the 2012 IECC codes with local amendments.
Advanced building codes are a critical component of a 21st century clean economy. With your ongoing leadership on energy codes and conservation, Austin can continue to show the nation that it is possible to have a robust economy while combatting climate change and creating family-supporting jobs.
Resource-efficient buildings provide jobs at every professional level and skill set. For example, by the end 2013, green buildings will support nearly 8 million workers in a range of occupations including construction managers, carpenters, electricians, janitors, building superintendents and managers, architects, plumbers, truck drivers, and cost estimators, among many others.1
Despite the recession’s impact on the national construction industry, green construction has maintained a strong market share of the commercial and residential building sectors. Green building accounts for more than one-third of all non-residential design and construction in the United States, and is projected to grow to more than one-half of all construction within the next five years.2
With regards to residential home construction, a February 2012 report released by McGraw-Hill Construction found that that green building in the U.S. is expected to comprise between 29% and 38% of the residential market by 2016 — a potential fivefold increase, from $17 billion in 2011 to somewhere within the range of $87 billion to $114 billion in 2016. According to the study, builders have reported that the cost to build green is now 7% and falling, as compared to 10% in 2008 and 11% in 2006.3 (see figure 1).
Growth of green construction market share
A recent analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that building operations consumed $406 billion worth of energy in 2009 – 38% of total U.S. energy spending.4 By “building it right the first time,” home owners and commercial property owners can dramatically benefit by locking in lasting energy savings at a much lower up-front cost than the cost of retrofitting a building later in it’s life.
Full compliance with energy codes would produce significant annual and cumulative energy savings for consumers. According to a report analyzing U.S. household energy expenditures, the average American household spends $2,150 each year on home energy bills. Meeting the energy standards in advanced building codes typically cut such costs by 15% or more, saving the average household more than $300 each year.5
Implementing the 2012 IECC with local amendments will help save consumers on their overall energy costs, reduce our city’s carbon footprint, and support the thousands of local jobs tied to the energy and renewable energy industries.
We look forward to working with council staff, green building stakeholders, and workforce development advocates to ensure that as stronger codes and above-code programs are implemented, workers on both the energy management side and on the construction side are provided adequate training and access to career pathways in the clean economy.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
On behalf of the Texas BlueGreen Alliance steering committee,
Coordinator, Texas BlueGreen Alliance
Business Manage/Financial Secretary, IBEW Local Union 520
Conservation Director, Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter
Executive Director & Secretary/Treasurer
Texas Building & Construction Trades Council
cc: Council Member Sheryl Cole
Council Member Mike Martinez
Council Member Laura Morrison
Council Member Chris Riley
Council Member Bill Spelman
Council Member Kathie Tovo
1 SEED – Sustainability Education & Economic Development. American Association of Community Colleges. (2011) “Green Building Resource Center.” Available at: http://www.theseedcenter.org/Resources/Resource-Center-Description/How-Are-the-Resources-Organized-#greenbuilding. [Accessed 30 November 2011].
2 A Green Economy is a Growth Economy: How Green Building Supports Job Creation, Workforce Transformation and Economic Recovery. USGBC Market Brief. 2011. https://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=10759
3 The Green Residential Building Market. McGraw-Hill Construction, 2012. http://analyticsstore.construction.com/index.php/green-homes-results-fact-sheet.html
4 EIA Annual Energy Outlook, 2010.
5 Alliance to Save Energy, U.S. Household Energy Expenditures, 2010.