December 21, 2021 Read More →

U.S. oil and gas capital to require solar-ready new home designs

Houston Chronicle:

Beginning in January, the city will require builders of many Houston homes to make accommodations for solar panels in their designs.

The change will not require new homes to have solar panels, but it will mean developers must incorporate the potential for their installation in the future into their plans. They will have to identify where on the roof the panels could go, ensure ventilation pipes or other hardware do not impede that space, leave a conduit from the roof to the electrical box for wiring, and allow space in that box in case a homeowner decides to pursue panels later.

The change stems from a 13-3 City Council vote earlier this month to upgrade several of Houston’s development ordinances, including adopting the 2015 uniform building, residential, fire, mechanical and electric codes developed by the International Code Council. Councilmembers Mike Knox, Michael Kubosh and Letitia Plummer voted against the codes; Councilmember Greg Travis was absent.

The city mostly had been using the 2012 uniform codes, and Mayor Sylvester Turner said it was past time for an update. The Federal Emergency Management Agency was among the entities encouraging the city to update its codes, Turner said.

The new codes take effect Jan. 2, and the city now will begin engaging industry stakeholders in a process to adopt the uniform 2021 codes, the mayor said.

[Dylan McGuinness]

More: Updated Houston code requires new homes to be ‘solar ready.’ Here’s what that means

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