Energy Efficiency Goals and Requirements for Public Entities

June 24, 2015


In 2001 the Texas legislature enacted public building energy efficiency standards to help the state comply with federal Clean Air Act standards (see S.B. 5). The Texas Energy Partnership (TEP), consisting of State Energy Conservation Office (SECO), the U.S. Department of Energy's Rebuild America Program, and ENERGY STAR, was formed to help the counties and cities affected by S.B. 5 and subsequent legislation. The TEP holds workshops on energy-efficient building technologies, energy management, and other energy issues and has created a website for affected political subdivisions to report their energy savings data and to access information on benchmarking, best practices for energy efficient buildings, and green building techniques.

There are numerous energy efficiency goals and requirements for various types of public and publicly-supported entities. The following descriptions highlight some of the most significant provisions (with the relevant statutory authorities in parentheses).

Political Subdivisions, Institutions of Higher Education, and State Agencies 

Energy Conservation Goals (Health & Safety Code § 388.005 and Government Code § 447.009)

Each political subdivision in the 41 urban and surrounding non-attainment counties, institution of higher education, or state agency is required to:

  • implement all cost-effective energy efficiency measures to reduce electricity consumption in existing facilities;
  • establish a goal to reduce the electric consumption by the entity by at least 5% each fiscal year for 10 years, beginning September 1, 2011; and
  • report efforts and progress annually to SECO, including in the report justification that the entity has already implemented all available cost-effective measures if the entity fails to attain the established goals.

State agencies are mandated to develop a plan for conserving energy that includes a percentage goal for reducing the agency’s use of electricity, gasoline, and natural gas. Each state agency must file a quarterly report with the governor and the Legislative Budget Board listing the goals identified in the agency’s energy conservation plan and a description of the progress made by the agency in meeting those goals.

Purchasing Requirements (Government Code § 2165.009)

A state agency or institution of higher education in charge and control of a state building is required to purchase for use in each type of light fixture in the building the commercially available model of light bulb that uses the fewest watts for the necessary luminous flux or light output that is compatible with the light fixture.

Building Construction and Renovation Requirements (Government Code § 2166.401 et seq. and § 2311.001 et seq.)

During the planning phase of proposed construction of a new state building, the agency or state institution of higher education undertaking the project must evaluate the economic feasibility of:

  • using energy-efficient architectural or engineering design alternatives; or
  • incorporating "alternative energy" systems to meet space heating or cooling, water heating, electrical loads, and interior lighting.  

Alternative energy is defined to include solar, biomass, wind, and geothermal energy sources. If economically feasible, the efficiency or alternative energy building design features must be included in the construction plans. 

When constructing or extensively renovating a "critical governmental facility" or replacing major heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment for a critical governmental facility, the state governing body in charge of the facility must evaluate whether equipping the facility with a combined heating and power system would result in expected energy savings that would exceed the expected costs of purchasing, operating, and maintaining the system over a 20-year period. Critical government facilities are those that “serve a critical public health or public safety function” (e.g., police and fire stations, prisons, hospitals, data centers, water and wastewater facilities, etc.) that have a peak electricity demand exceeding 500 kilowatts. If the expected energy savings exceed the expected costs, the state governing body in charge of the facility may equip the facility with a combined heating and power system. 

School Districts (Education Code § 44.901 et seq.)

The board of trustees of a school district are required to develop long-range energy plans to reduce the district’s energy use by 5% beginning in fiscal year 2008. The plan must detail strategies (e.g., facility design and construction improvements) for achieving energy efficiency that can be achieved without a net financial cost to the district over a 7-year period. The board may enter into energy savings performance contracts for the installation or implementation of energy and water conservation measures, such as building insulation; efficient lighting fixtures; heating, ventilation, or air-conditioning system modifications or replacements; and automatic energy control systems.

Residential Buildings Receiving State Assistance (Government Code § 2306.187)

New and rehabilitated single and multi-family dwellings that receive assistance from the state Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) also must meet specific energy efficiency standards. The DHCA is directed to establish minimum standards for such buildings that may include the use of ENERGY STAR appliances and products, energy-efficient alternative construction materials, air conditioning or heat pump equipment that exceeds the energy code, and air ducting systems inside the conditioned space. The standards will not apply to dwellings that receive weatherization assistance money from the department or money provided under the first-time home buyer program.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: State
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: Texas
Incentive Type: Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Web Site:
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Lighting
  • Other EE


Name: Tex. Health & Safety Code § 388.005 (Texas Building Energy Performance Standards)
Date Enacted: 06/15/2001 (subsequently amended)
Effective Date: 09/01/2001
Name: Tex. Educ. Code § 44.902 et seq. (Long-Range Energy Plan to Reduce Electric Energy (Independent School Districts))
Date Enacted: 06/15/2007
Effective Date: 09/01/2007
Name: Tex. Gov't Code § 2306.187 (State-Funded Public Housing)
Date Enacted: 06/15/2007
Effective Date: 09/01/2007
Name: Tex. Gov't Code § 447.009 (State Agency / State-Funded Institutes of Higher Education Energy and Water Management)
Date Enacted: 06/14/2013
Effective Date: 09/01/2013
Name: Tex. Gov't Code § 2166.401 et seq. (State Agency Facility Energy and Water Conservation Standards)
Effective Date: 09/01/1995
Name: Tex. Gov't Code § 2311.001 et seq. (Critical Facilities and Combined Heat and Power)
Effective Date: 09/01/2009 (subsequently amended)
Name: Tex. Gov't Code § 2165.009 (State Agency / State-Funded Institutes of Higher Education (Light Bulbs; Vending Misers))
Effective Date: 09/01/2009


Name: Stephen Ross
Organization: Texas General Services Commission
Address: 111 E. 17th Street
Austin TX 78701
Phone: (800) 531-5441

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.