How Will Energy Efficiency Retrofits Abate The Need For New Fossil Fuel Power In Austin, Texas? Policy Recommendations For Retrofitting Existing Buildings

Matthew Johnson, School for International Training


The threat of reaching the global warming tipping point within the next ten years impels government to improve adoption of policies that lessen the carbon content of energy use in the United States and other high-polluting countries. In order for renewable energy to begin to replace fossil fuels in significant quantities, energy efficiency must be employed to reduce the amount of energy that is currently wasted through end-use applications. In this paper I review, national, state and local energy efficiency initiatives, and highlight the city of Austin’s efforts to improve the energy efficiency of its existing buildings through a robust energy efficiency retrofit program. I analyze the city of Austin’s Task Force that was charged with developing recommendations on an energy efficiency retrofit ordinance, and offer my own set of recommendations that will enable Austin to avoid the temptation to buy or build new fossil fuel-based generation.