Austin Energy

Austin Energy

Location: 721 Barton Springs Rd Austin, TX 78704
Websiteaustinenergy.com
Description: Austin Energy is the public utility providing electricity to a 421 square mile area that includes the City of Austin and surrounding communities in Travis and Williamson countries. In 1991, the company launched the nation’s first green building program, which is still in operation after 20 years. Since its inception, it has rated almost 10,000 homes, and claims to have saved over 53.6 million kilowatt hours of electricity.
Notes:
Assists in planning and administering Austin’s Climate Protection Plan.
Aims to achieve an 800MwH reduction in electricity consumption by 2020, based on projected growth.
No rate increase has been instituted since 1994.
Incentives for small/medium business customers who are able to reduce their consumption.
High consumers are charged more per kilowatt hour, rather than less (as is typical in most markets).
Performs an energy audit upon sale of all residential and commercial property.
Austin is one of the few cities that requires an energy audit for buildings from all sectors.
Green Building arm acts not merely as a rating agency, but also as a consultancy.
Ratings began with residential, but are now applicable to multifamily and commercial, as well.
Conclusion: While it might at first seem unusual for a city’s green building initiative to be maintained by its electricity provider, Austin Energy’s depth of infrastructure proves particularly conducive to these purposes. Rather uniquely, it has the capacity to monitor energy usage at all stages, from production to consumption. Coordination with the city’s code compliance department means that it is able to quickly translate its initiatives into law, resulting in a more reactive/dynamic market.

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