When Texans look to their state capital, they see a diverse and sprawling metropolis of just under a million people, a vibrant cultural and economic hub, and a downtown skyline undergoing rapid transformation. Less visible at is the city’s long and continued commitment to the energy efficiency of its built environment. Austin stands as a fine example of how a city can go beyond minimum statewide requirements to give its residents a better, greener future. In addition to adopting strong energy codes, the city has also taken a significant interest in renewable energy, including solar.
The year 2030 is a meaningful one across the world of energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Architecture 2030 challenge aims to have new construction and renovations be carbon neutral by this date. Many countries have made pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions on this same timeframe. And last month, the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative announced their own 2030 targets: a further reduction in the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV). As a SunShot Initiative awardee, BCAP has hit the ground running to discover the best cities around the country for training design professionals on solar PV.
In 2010, BCAP created a list of Places to Watch that were making strides in enacting energy efficient building codes. Now, we are going back to these nine jurisdictions to track their progress and see what other innovations they’ve added six years later. We will be looking for other places to watch in the future as cities lead the way with sustainability plans and energy saving goals. BCAP identified Santa Fe as a place to watch due to their residential green code adoption, citywide sustainability plan, and Water Conservation Plan.
The City Energy Project Assessment Methodology is designed to assist cities in identifying residential and commercial energy code compliance issues and help identify the areas they should focus on in order to improve their compliance rates. The methodology helps cities identify common areas of non-compliance as well as the causes of non-compliance. So far, 10 cities are using this methodology to cut energy waste, boost local economies, and reduce harmful pollution.