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Report: Houston Is Middle Of The Pack On Energy Efficiency

While Houston performed best in local government operations, it fell short in community wide initiatives and transportation policies.

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The City of Houston ranks middle of the pack nationally this year in energy efficiency policies, according to a report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Houston ranks 35th out of 75 U.S. cities in energy efficiency in an annual scorecard from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, an advocacy group pushing for lower carbon emissions.

The scorecard ranks cities in five categories: local government operations, community-wide initiatives, building policies, energy and water utilities and transportation policies. While Houston performed best in local government operations, it fell short in community wide initiatives and transportation policies, according to the report. 

David Ribeiro, a senior researcher in the Local Policy Program at ACEEE and lead researcher of the 2019 City Clean Energy Scorecard, told Houston Matters the results tell who is doing best, who needs improvement and what the leading practices are on clean energy. Ribeiro says Houston should keep working on expanding its policies. 

“In the case of Houston, efforts to improve the building code or start putting in some requirements for efficiency for existing buildings is a good way to go,” he said. 

While the report found public transportation in Houston lacked funding, it also reported it as one of only eight cities in the nation to offer incentives for electric vehicle charging systems solely powered by renewable energy.

Houston’s plan forward

The City of Houston has also released a draft of its first Climate Action Plan.

Lara Cottingham, Chief Sustainability Officer with the City of Houston, told Houston Matters the plan addresses the city’s current situation focusing on four key areas: transportation, energy transition, building optimization and materials management.

“The plan goes through each of those areas and talks about the existing programs we have today,” she said. “And then it also sets goals and says what additional efforts do we need to do either as a city as an individual or as a community to reach some of those targets.”

The draft is available for public comment for the next few months before a final version is to be presented in the fall.

Listen to the full discussion on Houston Matters in the audio below:

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