City of Austin - Commercial and Residential Green Building Requirements (Texas)

From Open Energy Information

Last modified on February 12, 2015.

Rules Regulations Policies Program

Place Texas
Name City of Austin - Commercial and Residential Green Building Requirements
Incentive Type Building Energy Code
Applicable Sector Commercial, Multi-Family Residential, Residential
Eligible Technologies Comprehensive Measures/Whole Building, Biomass, Daylighting, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Photovoltaics, Small Hydroelectric, Solar Space Heat, Solar Water Heat, Wind
Active Incentive Yes
Implementing Sector Local
Energy Category Energy Efficiency Incentive Programs, Renewable Energy Incentive Programs

Code Change Cycle 3 years, beginning with the 2006 code
Commercial Code Requirement based on the Austin Energy Green Building Ratings and/or LEED certification; varies by zoning, location and building type

Residential Code Requirement based on the Austin Energy Green Building Ratings and/or LEED certification; varies by zoning, location and building type

Date added to DSIRE 2007-10-11
Last DSIRE Review 2012-07-31
Last Substantive Modification
to Summary by DSIRE

References DSIRE[1]


Note: The requirements listed below are current only up to the date of last review (see the top of this page). The City of Austin may also make additional requirements depending on the circumstances of a given project. Interested parties should contact the program office for more detailed information when planning a project.

The City of Austin has numerous green building provisions within the city building code, with requirements that vary according to location, zoning designation and building type. The building standards rely on the Austin Energy Green Building Rating system and the LEED certification system as metrics. In some cases developers have the option of achieving compliance under either of the two systems. Under the Austin Energy Green Building Rating System, buildings are awarded up to five stars depending on the number and breadth of green building elements that are incorporated into the design. In terms of energy efficiency, rated buildings are designed to exceed the Austin Energy Code, which itself is one of the most aggressive in the nation (see Climate Protection Plan information at bottom).

While these standards are among the most progressive in the nation, the City of Austin has taken the Green Building Program much further. In February 15, 2007, the city council passed Resolution No. 20070215-23, the Austin Climate Protection Plan, calling for the drafting of new building codes consistent with reducing energy used in single-family homes by 65% and all other public and private buildings by 75% by 2015.

The Zero-Energy Capable Homes (ZECH) Task Force was designated to draft design recommendations and progressively increasing goals for the program, and the first series of code amendments were adopted by the City Council on October 18, 2007. The new building codes are based on the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) with amendments according to program targets. The November 2006 version of the Austin Energy Code served as a reference until 2010 when Ordinance No. 20100408-051 adopted the 2009 the IECC with local amendments as the third phase of the Zero Energy Capable Homes initiative under the Austin Climate Protection Plan.

An Energy Efficiency Retrofits (EER) Task Force was created by Resolution No. 20071213-64 in December 2007 to examine strategies for reducing energy use in existing buildings. The EER Task Force issued its own recommendations in September 2008. The City Council subsequently adopted Resolution No. 20081106-048 in November 2008 setting a series of energy efficiency improvement goals for the city's existing residential and commercial buildings. The structure and timing of the goals differ for residential, multi-family residential, and commercial structures (see resolution for details). In a related adoption, Resolution No. 20081106-047 established energy conservation audit and disclosure requirements for residential, commercial, and multi-family residential buildings. In general for residential buildings more than 10 years old, audits must be completed prior to any sale and the results disclosed to prospective purchasers. For commercial and multi-family buildings, any building more than 10 years old as of June 1, 2009 must have an audit performed by June 1, 2011. For other buildings, this must be completed within 10 years after the facility was constructed. Please see the actual resolution for additional details and exceptions.

Information about public building standards in Austin can be accessed here.

Incentive Contact

Contact Name Sophie Roark
Department Austin Energy
Address 721 Barton Springs
Place Austin, Texas
Zip/Postal Code 78704-1194
Phone (512) 482-5300

Contact Name Richard Morgan
Department Austin Energy
Address 721 Barton Springs Road
Place Austin, Texas
Zip/Postal Code 78704-1194
Phone (512) 482-5309


Authorities (Please contact the if there are any file problems.)

Authority 1: Austin Code §25 (Land Development)

Authority 2: City Council Resolution No. 20070215-23
Date Enacted 2007-02-15

Authority 3: City Council Resolution No. 20071213-64
Date Enacted 2007-12-13

Authority 4: City Council Resolution No. 20081106-048
Date Enacted 2008-11-06

Authority 5: City Council Resolution No. 20081106-047
Date Effective 2009-06-01
Date Enacted 2008-11-06

Authority 6: City Council Ordinance No. 20100408-051
Date Enacted 2010-04-08

  • Incentive and policy data are reviewed and approved by the N.C. Solar Center's DSIRE project staff.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1  "Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE)"