Houston

United States
Mayor Sylvester Turner, Elected 2016

Case Studies

The City of Houston is participating in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, aiming to engage the community in achieving a reduction in energy consumption of at least 20% by 2020 from 2008 levels, across 30 million square feet (ft) of buildings. This includes 7 million ft2 of city-owned buildings. The City is also aiming to attain the highest number of ENERGY STAR1and LEED2 certified buildings in the U.S.

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The City of Houston’s retrofit program covers a portfolio of 271 city buildings encompassing 11 million square feet. Similar buildings are grouped into sub-projects, or tranches, and retrofit together; the implementation of each tranche is phased over time. This particular case study provides an overview of the Schneider Electric/ T.A.C.’s and Siemens’ Tranche 2 retrofits. The retrofit program became a keystone of former Mayor Bill White’s commitment to transform Houston from “energy capital” of the world to the “energy conservation capital” of the world and has since been a foundation element for current Mayor Annise Parker’s sustainability initiatives. 

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With the support of the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), the Houston mayor’s office developed and implemented a large-scale energy efficiency retrofit program to address all city buildings using CCI’s best practices energy performance contracting methodology. The city government has set a goal of reducing its energy demand from buildings by at least 25 percent through the program.

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In response to water quality complaints concerning drinking water from Lake Houston, the City of Houston decided to embark upon a project to install 20 laminar flow water circulators to improve water quality. The low-cost, solar-powered, energy-efficient circulators allowed the lower waters to remain oxygenated and promoted the health of the Lake’s natural ecosystem, while reducing energy and chemical treatment costs.

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Houston's retrofitting program has dramatically reduced the consumption of energy in 641 homes in poorer communities through simple energy efficiency improvements, such as weather stripping windows and doors, insulating attics and hot water pipes, and caulking windows. It has cut 1,100 tons CO2e emissions and improved the lives of many families, saving them $870 USD annually.

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Vending Machines/Vending Misers

November 3, 2011 Houston

The City of Houston purchased 285 energy efficient devices for beverage vending machines in City-owned and operated facilities and parks called a VendingMiser®. The devices, which reduce energy consumption by powering down the machine when the surrounding area is vacant, were installed at no cost and reduce vending machine electricity consumption by 40-50%.

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Weatherization Program

November 3, 2011 Houston

In 2006 the City of Houston decided to implement a “neighborhood by neighborhood” energy efficiency program targeted at low income, hard to reach homeowners to reduce kWh consumption by weatherizing their households. The program has focused on neighbourhoods that have median household incomes of less than $40,000/year, residences less than 2000 square feet and built prior to 1965.

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