Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs - Building Homes and Strengthening Communities

TDHCA Energy Efficiency Rule

Energy Efficiency Measures for TDHCA Single Family Programs

Texas Government Code §2306.187 mandates TDHCA to include minimum energy efficiency requirements on all single family construction activities such as new construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation.  

The State Energy Conservation Office has adopted Chapter 11 of the 2009 International Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings as the energy conservation code for the State of Texas as of January 1, 2012.  With public input, TDHCA drafted and approved the Minimum Energy Efficiency Requirements for Single Family Construction Activities (10 TAC 21), which is applicable to all single family construction activities initiated on January 1, 2015 and later.

Single family new construction and reconstruction activities funded by TDHCA are required to comply with Chapter 11 of the 2009 IRC or be Energy Star certified.  Single family rehabilitation activities funded by TDHCA are required to have a minimum number of energy efficiency measures in place as evidenced by a inspection.

Energy Efficiency Increases Affordability

The Department's single family energy efficiency requirements, effective January 1, 2015, apply to all single family new construction and rehabilitation activities funded by TDHCA.

The new requirements enhance home affordability by reducing household utility costs. This matters to households with low incomes, who pay between 20% - 25% of their after-tax income on utilities. Households earning above 80% of the Area Median Family Income (AMFI) spend between 3% - 5% of their after-tax income on utilities1. The lower the household income, the greater the toll utilities take on our ability to cover rent, mortgages, food, transportation and medical bills.

Texas Family Energy Costs as Percent of After-Tax Income

Less than $10K: 68%; $10-30K:23%;$30-50K:16%;$50K+:8%
Source: Energy Cost Impacts on Texas Families. American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. February 2013.

Household Benefits

Energy-efficient features offer better protection from heat in the summer, cold in the winter, air leakage, and moisture infiltration.  Energy efficient homes use significantly less energy for heating, cooling and water heating, which means lower bills year round.  Assisting Texans with lower incomes cover their utility costs and avoid a potential health or financial crisis can lead to greater self-sufficiency and financial stability over the long term.

Community Benefits

Integrating energy efficiency measures into all of TDHCA's single family programs may enhance local economic stability.

The "Home Energy Efficiency and Mortgage Risks" study, released by the University of North Carolina and the Institute for Market Transformation in March 2013, found that the risk of mortgage default is one-third lower for Energy Star-certified homes.

Statewide Benefits

Energy efficiency creates the regional benefit of decreasing demand on the state's electric grid and reducing greenhouse gas emissions 1.

Per statute, TDHCA has also integrated energy conservation into its multifamily housing development programs.


1. In 2005, the typical U.S. family with an annual after tax income of $52,000 spent nearly 9% of its budget on utility bills. The 61 million families (the majority of U.S. households) that earn less than $50,000 annually devoted nearly 20% of their after tax income on utility bills. Source: Building Energy Star Qualified Homes, HUD, 2008.

Texas households with incomes of below 50% of the Federal Poverty Level pay 74.4% of their after tax income on utility bills. According to the 2000 Census, more than 489,000 Texas households live with an income at or below 50% Federal Poverty Level. Source: On the Brink: 2011. Fisher, Sheehan & Colton, Public Finance and General Economics, Belmont, MA, 2012.

In 2012, American families earning less than $10,000 a year spent 78% of their after tax income on utility bills; families earning between $10,000 and $30,000 spent 24%; families earning between $30,000 and $50,000 spent 17%. Source: Energy Cost Impacts on American Families, 2001-2012. American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. February 2012.

Documentation and Resources

10 TAC 21: Minimum Energy Efficiency Requirements for Single Family Construction Activities

For New Construction and Reconstruction, a new home must comply with Chapter 11 of the 2009 IRC, 2009 IECC, or Energy Star Certification.

Only Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) certified Home Energy System Raters (HERS Raters) can inspect and test for Energy Star Qualified homes.

All appliances, equipment, and fixtures installed or replaced shall be Energy Star or WaterSense certified products.