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On April 26th we attended training for new energy codes, methods, and products for increased energy efficiency and best building practices. The training was sponsored by:

Texas Association of Builders (TAB)
State Energy Conservation Office
Energy Systems Laboratory at Texas A&M University
Railroad Commission of Texas
West Texas Home Builders Association (WTHBA)

It was presented by Dr. Jose Solis and Dr. Fred Bustani. We were one of the only six builders in the area to attend. That is too bad! We think all building professionals would have benefited greatly. In the future we think consumers, too,  should be invited to such training because when presented with energy saving options that make sense, many decide to upgrade.

Specific topics included:

  • Design and Orientation
  • Structure/Framing
  • Roof Systems and Overhangs
  • Mechanical and Electrical Systems
  • Insulation
  • Fixtures and Appliances
  • Landscaping

We were, of course, familiar with many of the topics covered. Information new to us included over 70 changes to the Energy Code (not yet adopted locally but coming soon). We also discussed innovative ideas for foundations, framing and insulation.

The instructors encouraged building professionals to consider smaller designs with better efficiency. They also encouraged large covered porches and outdoor living areas… the more the better! Another recommendation was standing-seam, galvanized aluminum roofing. That is an idea that has not been used extensively in our area for a long time. We will consider the option with our customers.

You may wonder why the Rairoad commission sponsored the training. It is because the Commission regulates the propane industry in Texas. We were given a short presentation about propane options and safety. We were also given information about consumer rebates of up to $800 per house for the use of propane. We will be sharing that information with our customers, as well.