Senate Research Center   H.B. 2839
By: Dukes (Sponsor Unknown)
State Affairs

This analysis is based on the House Committee Report, which is the most
recent version available to the Senate Research Center. 


Inefficient energy practices in private homes and apartments cause
utilities to burn more fuel, which contributes to the emission of
greenhouse gases. The importance of this is underscored by the fact that
the United States emits one-fifth of the world's total greenhouse gases and
Texas is the single largest contributor to the nation's greenhouse gas
emissions.  Increasing the efficiency of energy consumption in Texas would
have significant impacts on both the state's air quality and energy

Increasing energy efficiency in residential housing could not only have
environmental benefits, but would also serve consumers by providing them
with lower utility bills.  Currently, there is little incentive for
increasing the energy efficiency of new and existing residential housing.
Some  states around the nation are developing programs to award energy
efficient mortgages and other financing incentives to encourage the
construction  and upgrade of residential housing.  H.B. 2839 establishes
the Texas Energy Assistance Loan Program and authorizes the state energy
conservation office of the General Services Commission to adopt rules to
implement the program. 


Rulemaking authority is expressly granted to the state energy conservation
office of the General Services Commission in SECTION 1 (Sections 2305.102
and 2305.105, Government Code) of this bill. 


H.B. 2839 amends the Government Code to require the state energy
conservation office of the General Services Commission (office)  to
implement and maintain the Texas Energy Assistance Loan Program (program)
(Sec. 2305.102). 

Under the program, the office is required to:

  _coordinate the delivery and marketing of mortgage incentives to purchase
energy-efficient residential housing and to improve the energy efficiency
of existing residential housing; 

  _provide training and technical assistance;

  _provide educational workshops or seminars on the benefits of the program;

  _develop and purchase assessment tools, including software and monitoring

  _develop a database to track energy efficiency improvements in the state;

   _provide follow-up evaluation of homeowner responsiveness to,
understanding of, and satisfaction with energy efficiency improvements; 

  _conduct market penetration studies; and

  _implement projects and other initiatives that the office may develop to
promote energy-efficient residential housing. 

The bill requires the office to establish a system for monitoring and
evaluating the program and to consult with other appropriate state agencies
to ensure coordination and avoid duplication of activities. The bill
authorizes the office to adopt rules necessary to implement the Act (Sec.

The bill requires the office to fund projects and initiatives and to
maximize procurement of funds from alternative sources (Sec. 2305.103). The
bill sets forth provisions requiring the office to promote voluntary
participation; annually issue, by rule,  voluntary participation
guidelines; and consult with an advisory task force to develop the
guidelines and procedures for the program (Secs. 2305.104 2305.106). 

The bill requires the office to develop and implement a homebuyer mortgage
project, an energy efficiency improvement project, an agricultural
equipment mortgage project, and a home rating and mortgage marketing
project for delivering efficiency mortgage and improvement loans (Secs.
2305.107 - 2305.110).  

The bill requires the office to deliver the first set of guidelines
required by the Act no later than January 1, 2002. 

Effective date: September 1, 2001.