The city of Austin is undertaking some far-reaching energy efficiency goals for new home construction. Here is an except from the Austin-American Statesman:
By 2015, Austin plans to tighten its building codes so new homes will use 65 percent less electricity and gas than those under construction today. "I haven't seen any other city ... with such a long-term vision as this. It's aggressive, but it looks very doable," said Aleisha Khan, executive director of the Building Codes Assistance Project, part of
the Washington-based Alliance to Save Energy...
The objective of Austin's plan is to make homes "zero-energy capable": energy efficient enough that it is cost-effective to install solar panels or other on-site electricity generation such as wind turbines. Without the energy efficiency improvements, the benefit of on-site generation is lost through leaky ducts and windows.