Rulemaking And Code Adoption
Energy Code Adoption Process
Energy Code Published
The International Code Council develops the energy codes and standards used to construct residential and commercial buildings on a three year cycle. The collaborative proposal process is open and lengthy. Testimony on proposed changes is heard at a public hearing composed of building industry professionals, public interest groups, government agencies and other interested parties. At a final action hearing, members vote on the changes and a final new edition of the energy code is published.
Request for Comment
Following the publication of a new edition of the energy code, SECO will publish a notice in the Texas Register and on the SECO website asking anyone with an interest in adoption of the new codes to submit comments. Comments are accepted for a minimum of 30 days after the publication in the Texas Register. All written comments are forwarded to ESL for consideration in developing their recommendation. (34 Tex. Admin. Code §19.52)
Energy Systems Laboratory Conducts Stringency Analysis
The Energy Systems Laboratory (ESL), a division of Texas A&M University is charged with reviewing the new editions of the energy code and determining whether the energy efficiency and air quality provisions are equivalent to or more stringent than those of the previously adopted state energy code. Pursuant to Texas Health and Safety Code §388.003 (b-1), ESL has six months to conduct an analysis.
Stakeholder Meeting (Optional)
SECO may choose to have a public stakeholder meeting to discuss issues and concerns regarding the code. A notice of the stakeholder meeting is published in the Texas Register. All interested parties are invited to attend including: commercial and residential builders, architects, and engineers; municipal, county, and other local government authorities; and environmental groups.
SECO Review and Decision
During the final review period SECO considers ESL's analysis of the code and all stakeholder comments. SECO then determines whether to adopt the latest published edition of the energy code. This process is done on a three year cycle for commercial codes and a six year cycle for residential codes. If the decision is made to adopt, SECO will establish an effective date for the new energy code not earlier than nine months after the date of adoption.
SECO Publishes New Rule
If the code is adopted, a notice is posted in the Texas Register and a Letter of Certification is sent to the Department of Energy.
Local Government Adoption
A municipality or county may establish procedures to adopt local amendments to the code. Local amendments may not result in less stringent energy efficiency requirements in non-attainment and affected counties. The ESL, at the request of a municipality or county, determines the relative impact of proposed local amendments to an energy code, including whether proposed amendments are substantially equal to or less stringent than the unamended code.
The ESL submits annual reports to the TCEQ identifying the municipalities and counties whose codes are more or less stringent than the adopted state energy code. Each municipality or county should periodically review and consider revisions of the code made by the International Energy Conservation Code and the energy efficiency chapter of the International Residential Code. (Texas Health and Safety Code §388.003 (e))