The City of Houston announced today that it has released the energy use data for all municipal facilities that are larger than 25,000 square feet. This release consists of 62 city-owned buildings representing more than 5 million square feet of space. Collecting and analyzing energy-use information for these buildings will allow the City to identify operational and management adjustments to reduce energy use, save taxpayers’ money, and increase government transparency.
“The City of Houston has a strong history of implementing cost-effective and practical energy efficiency projects that grow the local economy and improve the bottom line of our buildings,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “Measuring the energy use of our municipal buildings is the next step in continuing this legacy. We now know which buildings are not performing as expected, and we are committed to making improvements. This data will allow us to identify additional ways to optimize building performance to reduce energy bills and save money —money that can be reinvested in city services.”
Houston has a legacy of implementing efficiency projects in the public and private sectors, such as the Houston Green Office Challenge, a friendly competition that challenges commercial property managers and office tenants to improve their building performance, and the City Energy Efficiency Policy, which promotes energy efficiency in the municipal operation of basic facilities, services, and installations. Further, through its Municipal Energy Efficiency Program, the City has retrofitted nearly six million square feet and invested $70 million in more-efficient systems and technologies, with buildings achieving energy reductions approaching 30 percent. Houston also has invested in green building certifications. Since 2004, new city construction, replacement facilities, and major renovations of more than 10,000 square feet must meet LEED Silver certification standards, with 23 LEED certified projects to date, and the city is among the top 10 cities in the United States with the most ENERGY STAR-certified buildings.
The City of Houston has already reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent since 2007, and today’s announcement follows Mayor Parker’s commitment that the City of Houston will reduce local GHG emissions another 10 percent by 2016. Decreasing building energy use is a key step in meeting these goals. Facility energy performance data is being used to identify municipal buildings in which energy efficiency strategies can be piloted and implemented.
Energy use data was collected for the buildings using the EPA ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager software tool. Site energy use intensity (EUI) data, based on 2013 data, for each building is now available to the public online via an interactive map (http://houstoncityenergyproject.org/about/leading-by-example/). Through this portal (http://houstoncityenergyproject.org/) users can also find information about the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool, learn how energy efficiency initiatives can pay off with lower energy costs, and gain access to resources and training.
“Houston has been a leader in improving building efficiency, one of the most important and effective strategies to tackle our climate and energy problems,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “Over 40 percent of all the energy consumed in the U.S. is used to heat and cool buildings. We applaud the City for collecting and making available its building benchmarking data to help ensure municipal facilities are performing to peak efficiency. This transparency and analysis can help root out energy waste, saving Houston money and reducing air pollution.”
“Making this energy performance data available to the public continues to build upon Mayor Parker’s commitment to transparency and government accountability” said Brian Yeoman, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Houston City Advisor. “By collecting and making this information publicly accessible, the City will continue its work with the private sector to create innovative solutions and projects that support a cycle of improvement that will cement Houston’s position as an energy efficiency leader.”