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2023 Review: Texas Green Building Advocacy in Action

Thursday, December 14, 2023 2:47 PM | Jonathan Kraatz (Administrator)

By Jeremy Sigmon, Ken Flippin and David Matiella contributions by Jonathan Kraatz
In August, USGBC Texas convened a virtual meeting to summarize the outcomes of the 88th Texas Legislature after two special sessions.  Four months and two additional special sessions later, we offer a 2023 year-end review.  A fifth special session may still be called in the New Year.  Here’s a status update on USGBC Texas’s green building policy priorities.

This year’s agenda covered four overarching themes:

  • Fix the grid with energy efficiency and demand response
  • Create safe, green schools
  • Raise building and energy codes
  • Transform the market for green buildings and jobs 

Our advocacy consultant Ken Flippin spent many days at the capitol prior to the session’s start and during the spring sprint to seed and nurture these policy concepts, spread across an initial list of 25 bills.  A group of USGBC Texas members spent a day at the capitol in March conducting more than 20 meetings with lawmakers’ offices, adding further support for these policies and adding context to their value.


During this year’s continual drumbeat on headline-grabbing topics such as property taxes, school funding, immigration, and impeachment, USGBC Texas counts several wins on which to build and grow for the 89th.

Playing defense, we’re pleased to report the following bills did not advance or their potentially damaging impacts were reduced:

SB1828 on energy performance contracting

Bill died

HB 3964 on energy efficiency

Bill died

SB 2432 on rejecting federal funds

Bill died

SB 624 on permitting for renewables

Bill died

SB 1860 / HB 4930 on climate action

Passed, but with minimized impacts

Playing offense, we’re pleased to report the following bills either passed or advanced significantly, demonstrating momentum and clear interest by the legislature that can be an indicator for further action and possible adoption next session.

SB 1050 / HB 2263 on energy efficiency programs for gas

Bill passed the Senate, 4 actions in the House. 
USGBC TX testified in support

SB 785 on geothermal energy resources (evolved from SB 1050 + HB 2263)

Bill passed. 
USGBC TX testified in support

SB 1699 on distributed energy resources

Bill passed.

SB 2453 on financial impact of energy codes on housing

Bill passed both the House and Senate.
Bill vetoed by the Governor.

SB 258 on 1% efficiency savings goal

Bill passed the Senate, 5 actions in the House.

HB 4246 on scholarships for rural students, rural economic development, and energy efficiency assistance

Bill passed.

SB 786 / HB 1677 on closed-loop geothermal injection wells

Bill passed.

SB 1210 on gas wells

Bill passed.

HB 3131 on orphan gas wells

Bill died after 3 actions in the House.

If a fifth special session is called, we hope Governor Abbott will follow through on his promise to revive and reconsider several bills that were vetoed in order to advance property tax reform measures.  Now that property tax measures have passed, there may be an opportunity to revisit these bills, even if probably a longshot.  Our priority bills that did not pass could still advance in a special session, even if unlikely.

Forthcoming deadlines for the state to accept federal funds loom large.  USGBC continues to advocate for accepting federal funding for energy efficiency, clean energy, and electrification, however state leadership continues to suggest that Texas – forever the Lone Star – may choose to go without.

However the final loose ends are resolved, USGBC Texas and its members can be proud of another set of successes and progress on which to build for the 89th session which will begin its planning stages in 2024 and kick off in 2025 for yet another high-intensity sprint.

For more information, watch the recording of USGBC Texas’s 88th Legislative Session Wrap Up from August, 2023.  To get involved, connect with your regional council of USGBC Texas or contact advocacy@usgbctexas.org.

USGBC Texas Chapter is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 1801 Royal Lane, Suite 400, Dallas, TX 75229

Contact us at chapter@usgbctexas.org or at 214-571-9244

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