Choosing Our Future: Greenhouse Gases or Green Homes?
Energy consumption and energy production remain at the top of the list of concerns for politicians and for consumers, especially when the bill comes due and when climate change impacts our lives. The City of Austin is among the pioneers of green building in the United States, and through visionary policies and practices Austin has changed not only where our energy comes from, but also how energy is both used and saved. Austin Energy, Austin's public owned utility, began going green in 1985 with public education and policy changes, and eventually became the first to use a green rating system for residential buildings. The Green Building Program's focus continues to expand, eventually including commercial construction, multifamily projects, municipal buildings, and consulting services. The program now rates new and retrofit construction in the areas of energy conservation, water conservation, sustainable materials, health and safety, and community. Rich MacMath is currently the lead Green Building Program staff member working with the City of Austin's Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department to create an affordable, solar powered, green built subdivision in Austin. He is happy to share with us all of they ways to make our homes energy efficient now, as well as Austin Energy's vision of the future.