ASHRAE Seeks Public Comment on Standard for Existing Buildings

With 86 percent of construction dollars going to the renovation of existing buildings, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) are revising ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 100-2006, Energy Conservation in Existing Buildings.

The standard is open for an advisory public review until May 25, 2011. ASHRAE’s advisory-public-review process is designed to seek suggestions for new, unusual, or potentially controversial elements of a proposed standard. Unlike ASHRAE’s formal calls for public comments, comments received under advisory public reviews are supportive and do not need to be resolved.

Of the 94.6 quadrillion Btu of energy consumed in the United States in 2009, 42 percent was used by commercial and residential buildings. Over the next 24 years, national consumption of electricity and natural gas is expected to grow by more than 22 percent and 16 percent, respectively. Over the same period, the amount of commercial and residential floor space is expected to increase by 37 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

“In order to offset the growing amount of floor space and subsequent increased energy demands, existing buildings must improve their efficiency, even if every new square foot were built and operated at net-zero energy,” Rick Hermans, chair of the Standard 100 committee, said. “ASHRAE and IES are working to make Standard 100 the best source of practical, accurate, and cost-effective design guidance for existing buildings.”

The revised standard provides comprehensive and detailed descriptions of processes and procedures for energy-efficiency improvements in existing residential and commercial buildings.

“Cities like New York, which are constrained in their development due to infrastructure limitations, can use this tool to renovate their existing-building stock, freeing up energy for new developments,” ASHRAE Presidential Member Gordon Holness said. “Since the standard sets specific energy targets based on building type and climate zone, it can also be used by state and federal agencies and by utility companies as a means of validating building-efficiency improvements as a result of tax-rebate and incentive programs.

"Given that 75 to 80 percent of all buildings that will exist in the year 2030 exist today, this rewritten standard gives us a vital resource to fulfill our sustainability goals," Holness continued. "President Obama recently announced a series of tax and regulatory changes with a collective goal for a 20-percent reduction in energy use in commercial buildings by the year 2020. That can only be achieved by addressing our existing-building stock."

The standard addresses major and minor modifications of residential and commercial buildings and identifies an energy target for 53 building types in 16 climate zones/sub-zones. The standard also identifies energy-efficiency requirements for buildings without energy targets—mostly industrial and agricultural facilities, data centers, and special laboratories—and provides multiple levels of compliance.

The standard establishes requirements for developing energy-management and operation-and-maintenance plans. Included are criteria for energy-use surveys, auditing, implementation, and verification. Appendices for life-cycle-cost-analysis procedures and identification of potential energy-efficiency measures are included.

“Through this advisory public review, we are seeking broad and general comments on the text of the standard, the concepts of requirements, and opinions about the value of the standard,” Hermans said. “Throughout the text, there are questions seeking your advice as reviewers of this draft document. Please look at these questions, and add your thoughts, answers, and comments in the ASHRAE comments database as described in the instructions.”

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