When a city grows, the demand for energy usually goes up just as fast. But not in Austin, Texas.
“Though we’re having significant increases in population, … our consumption is relatively flat,” says Manuel Garza of Austin Energy, the city’s utility.
He says mandatory energy audits help keep Austin’s energy use down. These inspections review a building’s energy use and identify ways to reduce it. For example, auditors examine windows, insulation, and heating and cooling systems.
In Austin, commercial properties must have these audits annually, and apartment buildings every 10 years. Garza says that if a single-family home is over 10 years old, an audit is required at the time of sale.
“And that’s intended to give disclosure to the buyer,” he says. “So if they’re buying a home and it only has four inches of insulation, is that something they want to do prior to moving in?”
If people decide to improve efficiency, Austin Energy offers programs to help. For example, it provides free weatherization improvements to low- and moderate-income customers.
So with information and resources, people can make their homes more efficient and help keep Austin’s carbon pollution in check.
Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media.