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June 21, 2011: Proposed ASHRAE Operation and Maintenance Guideline Open for Public Comment

June 21, 2011
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ATLANTA - A proposed guideline from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), now open for public comment, has been developed to help improve the performance of buildings by providing guidance on optimizing operation and maintenance to achieve the lowest economic and environmental life cycle cost without sacrificing safety or functionality. ASHRAE Guideline 32P, Sustainable, High Performance Operation and Maintenance, is open for public comment until July 4, 2011.

“This guideline outlines steps that can be applied to any building to move its operation and maintenance function toward high performance,” said Michael Bobker, chair of the guideline 32P committee. “Buildings can be designed to be high performance, but if they are not operated well that performance will not be delivered. This guideline is part of ASHRAE’s effort to strengthen its guidance for existing buildings.”

ASHRAE said the guideline will apply to the ongoing operational practices for buildings and systems with respect to energy efficiency, occupant comfort, indoor air quality, health and safety. These systems include the building envelope, HVACR, plumbing, complementary energy systems, and utilities and electrical systems.

“Modern air conditioning systems protect the health, comfort, and productivity of building occupants,” said ASHRAE Presidential Member Bill Harrison, whose presidential theme focused on the need for operation and maintenance. “Unfortunately, even very well designed systems waste a great deal of energy when they are not operated and maintained properly. ASHRAE’s Guideline 32 attacks wasted energy by helping people from the executive suite to the powerhouse understand how to efficiently manage the sophisticated systems that produce healthy comfort in today’s buildings. This is a giant step forward as we strive to use only the energy that produces value in our buildings.”

According to ASHRAE, studies and documented experience have shown that improved operational strategies alone could save 10 to 40 percent in energy. These savings came about through the application of expert knowledge to operation and maintenance practices, not large capital investment, Bobker noted. “We must first upgrade and then maintain the capabilities of the operations staff, which is where Guideline 32 will help play a role,” he said.

The guideline contains recommendations for three levels of building oversight: senior managers, facility managers, and technicians. Checklists for tracking that appropriate steps are being taken to move toward high-performance operation and maintenance are included for each.

Bobker said the guideline will provide the next steps beyond compliance with ANSI/ASHRAE/ACCA Standard 180, Standard Practice for Inspection and Maintenance of Commercial Building HVAC Systems, and provide concepts, methods, and details that meet the intent of the “minimum standards of care” under ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High Performance Green Buildings.

For more information and to comment, visit www.ashrae.org/publicreviews.

Publication date: 06/20/2011

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