ATLANTA - The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has announced that designers will soon be better able to develop sustainable, high-performance buildings through the use of advanced energy design guides now being developed by the Society. The guides also will help in achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for sustainable building design.

The proposed documents providing guidelines for achieving 30 and 50 percent energy savings over ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1, "Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings," are currently in development. Future plans include a guidance for attaining 75 percent savings.

The savings refer to reductions in energy consumption beyond that of 90.1, which sets the minimum energy efficiency required by most building codes. The savings will help designers achieve LEED certification, offered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), with which ASHRAE has a partnership agreement.

"LEED gives 'points' for achieving different levels of energy savings over Standard 90 - the energy reduction levels are defined in their Silver, Gold, and Platinum requirements," said Terry Townsend, ASHRAE's representative on an ASHRAE/USGBC steering committee. "However, the LEED program does not tell designers how to achieve these savings - instead it is left to their discretion. With the ASHRAE guides and proposed educational programs, designers will be told what to do and how to do it."

Advanced Energy Design Guides seek to achieve 30 percent savings over Standard 90.1-1999. The guides will consist of a series of documents applying to educational facilities (both kindergarten through 12th grade and colleges and universities), food sales and service, health care facilities, lodging, mercantile, mixed-use facilities, public assembly/religious worship facilities, residential (single family, low-rise multifamily, and high-rise multifamily), and offices.

The first document in the 30 percent series will provide design assistance for office buildings up to 20,000 square feet. According to Townsend, it will be a how-to, user-friendly guide targeted for use by contractors and small design-build firms. It is scheduled to be approved for publication at ASHRAE's 2004 Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tenn., slated for June 26-30.

The committee developing the document includes representatives from the Standard 90.1 committee, ASHRAE technical committees on systems energy utilization and building environmental impacts and sustainability, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, the New Buildings Institute, USGBC, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

To help users, ASHRAE also is developing an education program for contractors and small building design/build firms. It would be based on the "Train-the-Trainer" program used for Standard 90.1 in which ASHRAE members are trained about use of the standard and then, in turn, train code officials and other interested persons in their geographic areas. The educational program is planned for late 2004.

ASHRAE also is continuing work on guidance to achieve 50 percent savings. As with the 30 percent guides, this series will be developed for commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential applications. The 50 percent documents are to be published in two to three years. Guides for achieving 75 percent savings will then follow.

Publication date: 02/02/2004