Climate Action Plan Target 7

Current Status


Activity In 2022

2015 ICC model building code was adopted in 2021, along with 2020 Energy code

Beyond 2022

The Construction Code Modernization project began in mid-June of 2022 and will take two years to successfully complete.

Why Should Houston Buildings Meet the 2021 ICC Standards?

Building codes—and their consistent and timely updating and enforcement— ensure the health and safety of buildings, their functions, and the communities they serve. Adopting a standard code review process that follows the same cycle as the International Code Council (ICC), which issues the International Building Codes (IBC), allows the city to keep up with building practices that are inherently more resilient and adaptive and have a greater focus on advances in building sciences. Following the ICC’s lead and creating benchmarks for building beyond conventional minimum standards will significantly increase the resilience of our communities by mitigating the damages caused by disasters. Energy waste costs Houston residents and businesses millions of dollars annually. Energy efficiency is a powerful economic opportunity as well as a resource to meet sustainability and climate goals. For a building to be energy efficient, it must perform at the same level— or better—with less energy. As technology becomes more embedded into daily life, the electricity grid is facing unprecedented demands. By improving the efficiency of the building stock, energy demands can be better managed to stay within current capacity. Efficient buildings are not only more cost-effective to operate and maintain value longer, they also provide healthier and more comfortable spaces to enjoy. Moreover, while Houston’s water supply is currently not at risk, it is becoming more apparent that further conservation efforts are needed to ensure its security in the future. Traditional efforts to improve energy and water efficiency have been pursued separately, even though energy and water usage are linked. It takes a lot of energy to purchase, pump, treat, and store potable water, and these processes need to be factored in when evaluating energy usage. Drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities are the largest consumers of energy in the city’s energy portfolio, accounting for 68% of the city’s electricity bill in FY2019, or approximately $50 million. Past experience has demonstrated that when more up-to-date construction codes are followed, for every dollar invested, much more is saved in future mitigation and disaster recovery costs. It is anticipated that for every dollar invested, the city will save $7 by adopting the 2015 codes and up to $11 for adopting the 2021 codes. The city is looking to expedite updates to buildings and energy codes. This can only be achieved with authentic and meaningful stakeholder engagement across all levels.


2022 Data Source
Houston Public Works