Houston, Texas: One-Stop-Shop for Energy Efficiency

Houston, Texas: One-Stop-Shop for Energy Efficiency

Learn how Houton's climate and other factors affect your home's energy efficiency.

Hannah Bastawrose (Seeger) By Hannah Bastawrose (Seeger)

Hello fellow Energy Bots! You look like you are ready to turn your stale building into an energy-efficient oasis at the heart of your city.

On this page, we have provided you with specific information for your city that you can use to benchmark your building against your neighbors. Climate and weather data, average building sizes, average utility data, top incentives and rebates in your area, and building codes. We have scoured the internet for data to bring you the most comprehensive list of information you need to get started.

Whether you are a landlord, homeowner, or business owner, we have tips and tricks tailored to your city's specific needs to reduce your carbon footprint, save you energy, and more importantly save you money!

So grab your reusable coffee mug and let's get started!


General City Data

Houston, Texas

Elevation: 80 ft (32 m)

Location: 29.76° N, 95.37° W


  • Humid Subtropic

  • Classification: Cfa

    • Zone: C (midlatitude)

    • f no dry season

    • a temperature of the warmest month is 71F or above

Geography & Topography

The city is located on the gulf coast of Texas, with an elevation ranging from sea level to about 125 feet above sea level.The landscape of Houston is predominantly flat, with some gentle rolling hills in the western part of the city. It is traversed by several bayous, including the Buffalo Bayou, which flows through the downtown area. Due to the city's weather, the bayous have been subject to periodic flooding, which has been mitigated through a system of levees and reservoirs.

How does Geography & Topography Effect Energy Efficiency?

Where you are located and the land around you can affect your buildings energy consumption in multiple ways:

  • Solar Exposure: Unless you live on the equator, the sun will never be directly above. Knowing your latitude, longitude, and the landscape around your building can tell you how much solar generation you can capture. You can determine the angle your panels should be at and if there will be any shading.

  • Elevation: Buildings at higher elevation may be exposed to stronger winds and more extreme temperatures. Buildings at lower elevations may be more susceptible to flooding and lack of sun due to shading. Elevation can also have drastic effects on temperature. If you live in a mountainous area, driving minutes away you can experience significant temperature change.

  • Terrain: Buildings located in urban areas may be subject to urban heat island effect, where temperatures are higher due to the concentration of buildings and paved surfaces.

Climate & Weather

Houston has a humid subtropical climate, with hot and humid summers and mild winters. The city is prone to severe weather, including hurricanes and thunderstorms, which can cause flooding, damages to housing exteriors, and equipment.

The city experiences a lot of rainfall, particularly during the summer months.


Summer in Houston typically lasts from June to September, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-80s to mid-90s Fahrenheit (around 29-35 degrees Celsius). Humidity levels during the summer can be high, which can make the heat feel even more brutal. Thunderstorms are also common during the summer months, and Houston is prone to hurricanes and tropical storms.


Winter in Houston lasts from December to February, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-40s to mid-60s Fahrenheit (around 7-18 degrees Celsius). While the city can experience occasional cold snaps and freezing temperatures, snow is rare.

Spring & Fall

Spring and fall in Houston are typically mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the 60s to 80s Fahrenheit (around 15-27 degrees Celsius). However, these seasons can also bring severe weather, including thunderstorms and tornadoes.


The daily average humidity is around 75%, although the summer time high can be up to 90%.

How does Climate Effect Energy Efficiency?

High temperatures and high humidity making air conditioning a challenge. Not only does your system have to cool the air but also remove the humidity. The added moisture in the air causes cooling systems to work harder which increases energy demand, consumption, and cost. This makes energy efficiency improvements more important for your location.

While humidity can make the summers feel even hotter, it can also contribute to the risk of mold growth and other moisture-related problems in homes and buildings.

Maintenance By the Coast

Being by the coast and in a Humid and Subtropic climate brings some challenges for locals. The sea air causes faster deterioration of condensers and other mechanical equipment.

While air conditioning uses the most energy in most buildings, it's important to not only keep these components running, but running smoothly. The salty breeze corrodes metal, causing micro divots and rust on condenser coils. This deteriorates the energy efficiency rating faster than a more inland location.

Not only is regular maintenance suggested such as filter replacement, lubrication, and belt replacements (if necessary), but after some aging you can receive coil coatings to revive the outside equipment before having to replace it. Saving you money by increasing your energy efficiency monthly and prolonging the life.

Houston Home & Building Data


Benchmarking your building against relative averages is a great way to start. Determining where you stack up against your neighbors, will give you an idea of how much further you can cut costs on your energy bills.

Residential Averages

  • The average new home built in Houston, Texas today is around 2,316sf.

  • The average residential energy consumed in Houston, Texas is about 1,094 kWh per month. This is not exclusive to single resident homes.

  • The average utility rate is about $0.12/kWh.

Commercial Averages

Houston Building Codes

Houston Public Works: Building Code Design Criteria

Houston Public Works provides a document outlining some further general information for locals, residential and commercial. This document contains what construction codes to follow, structural requirements, energy, plumbing, and other general requirements and links.

ASHRAE: Houston

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is the leading professional organization that is leading the efforts in building decarbonization. This page has links to the mechanical and energy codes the City of Houston would need to follow for new construction, renovations, or additions.

IECC: Texas

The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) addresses energy efficiency on several fronts including cost savings, reduced energy usage, conservation of natural resources and the impact of energy usage on the environment.

Incentives & Rebates

Checking out incentives and rebates is a great way to make home improvements more affordable. With rising energy costs homeowners and businesses should identify the services that would serve them best. Then take advantage of the corresponding programs. Not only will you save energy, but you'll save money.

Federal Incentives

Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed on August 16, 2022. It includes several energy-efficiency and renewable system incentive opportunities for individuals and businesses. For most consumers, these incentives have one main goal: make it more affordable for homeowners to buy eco-friendly and clean energy equipment.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

The federal solar tax credit is available to homeowners who purchase a new solar system. The Inflation Reduction Act increases the available tax credit to 30%, starting January 1, 2023. This means it is possible to get up to one third of the cost of solar to reduce your federal taxes owed.

Local Utilities

Incentive Search Database

Below is a list of the local utility companies for the Houston Area. Utility incentives update regularly. Check out each of their website for the latest rebates for improving energy use and efficiency.

Centerpoint Energy is the main electricity utility company in Houston. Texas is a deregulated state when it comes to utilities, which means residents have the options to choose their rates. The below list includes a handful of retail electric providers (REPs) that offer different pricing plans and services.

If you'd like to compare rates, click here.

Other Resources To Improve Energy Efficiency

Texas PACE Authority

A Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program is financial tool that incentivizes property owners to upgrade facility infrastructure with little or no capital down. PACE loans are treated as a tax assessment against the property and are secured by a property tax lien.

Houston Case Study

The U.S. Department of Energy provides case studies for buildings located in each major city. The purpose is to show what is possible in terms of creative construction, recommended improvements, technology, project management, sustainability, and what is possible to achieve.

Green Building Resource Center: Houston

The Green Building Resource Center holds additional resources for Houston energy efficiency. Check out this site for more resource links, case studies, and events.