The International Code Council develops (on a three-year cycle) the energy codes and standards applicable to the construction of residential and commercial buildings. 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.
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 publication in the Texas Register. All written comments are forwarded to Energy Systems Laboratory (ESL) for consideration in developing its recommendation (34 Tex. Admin. Code §19.52).
ESL, a division of Texas A&M University, is charged with reviewing any 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. ESL has six months to conduct its analysis in accordance with Texas Health and Safety Code §388.003(b-1).
SECO may choose to have a public stakeholder meeting to discuss issues and concerns regarding the code. A meeting notice is published in the Texas Register. All interested parties are invited to attend including commercial and residential builders; architects; engineers; environmental groups and municipal, county and other local government authorities.
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 occurs 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.
If the code is adopted, a notice is posted in the Texas Register and a certification letter is sent to the U.S. Department of Energy.
A municipality or county may establish procedures to adopt local amendments to the code. Such 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 the energy code, including whether the amendments are substantially equal to or less stringent than the unamended code.
The ESL submits annual reports to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality identifying the municipalities and counties whose local codes are more or less stringent than the adopted state energy code. Each municipality or county should periodically review and consider revisions made by the International Energy Conservation Code and the International Residential Code (energy efficiency chapter). See Texas Health and Safety Code §388.003(e).