USGBC Advocacy - 2015 Texas Legislature

The following is a short synopsis of the Legislation that USGBC in Texas advocated for/against in the 2015 Texas State Legislature.

House Bill 1736 – Building Energy Performance Standards

Bill was originally presented under the premise that stricter energy codes increased the cost of housing and made housing too expensive for some in the market. Working with the bill’s sponsor we were able to demonstrate that utility savings from the stricter energy codes more than offset the mortgage cost increase. The bill will adopt (September 2016) the 2015 Residential Code as the base for Texas. Municipalities will be able to adopt stricter standards if they desire.

Senate Bill 1679 – Residential Building Code

Bill was presented to add knowledgeable building industry oversight to the Texas Code Adoption Procedure. This would be accomplished by creating a new review board of six individuals, to be appointed by the governor, to review/alter the recommendations of the existing technical review board prior to being submitted to the legislature. Worked with the bill’s sponsor to demonstrate the potential shortcomings of this legislation. This bill did not come to a vote.

House Bill 2392 – Wheel (Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program)

Bill was to amend the Health and Safety Code to direct the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) to establish and administer a self-sustaining program to issue loans for improvements to increase the energy efficiency of existing residences. The bill had enough votes for passage but the sponsor could not get recognized on the floor by the Lt. Governor and so the bill never came to vote. Will work on this before the next legislative session with SECO to craft a similar program that will pass.

House Bill 3363 – Residential Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Districts

Bill would allow local governments to adopt residential PACE districts to provide low interest loans for energy and water upgrades to homes that are paid back on an assessment that is attached to the property. This bill stalled in the House Committee. Will work on this bill again for the next session.

House Bill 1184 – Utility Cost Savings & Alternative Fuel Programs

Bill would allow the authorization for certain alternative energy and fuel programs for local government energy savings performance contracts. This bill was added to an existing law to increase the eligibility potential for these contracts. The bill passed and was forwarded to the governor for signature.

House Bill 1192 – Permissible Additional Domestic Use of Graywater

Bill was to expand the use of graywater for interior use in the flushing of toilets and urinals.   The bill was referred to the Natural Resources Committee where it stalled. We will work on this in the next legislature.

House Bill 1902 - Regulation and Use of Graywater

Bill was to address regulations allowing for additional safe uses of domestic graywater.   These will include expanded use of AC condensate, swimming pool backwash, storm water and reverse osmosis. Worked with the sponsor to inform others of the benefits and move the bill forward. Was passed and forwarded for the Governor’s signature.