One of the most sensible energy proposals I've heard has just come out of Austin, Texas where a task force will study possible city code changes that would make all single family homes built by 2015 "Zero-Energy Capable Homes."
Homes would have to be so efficient that they would be "net-zero energy" with the addition of onsite energy generation, such as through photo-voltaics. This level of efficiency is 60% more efficient than homes build to code today. As Austin's Mayor Will Wynn stated, “The cleanest of all energy, of course, is the energy that doesn’t need to be produced."
Austin’s task force is to consist of stakeholders of the residential construction industry, including builders, architects, designers, contractors, affordable housing advocates, as well as energy efficiency and renewable energy advocates. The task force would develop strategies that will be piloted through Austin Energy’s nationally recognized Green Building Program -- cost effective strategies would be incorporated into the City’s Energy Code.
U.S. consumers could save hundreds of billions of dollars on their utility bills over the next 10 to 15 years through greater use of cost-effective energy efficiency. Mayor Wynn serves as chairman of the Energy Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors -- maybe other cities will follow his lead.
For more information, see the press release here.