ATLANTA - Under a ruling issued by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), states must now certify that their building codes meet the requirements in ASHRAE/IESNA’s 2004 energy efficiency standard. ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2004 Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, has been established by the DOE as the commercial building reference standard for state building energy codes under the federal Energy Policy Act.

The act requires all states to certify that they have state energy codes in place that are at least as stringent as 90.1-2004, or justify why they cannot comply. The DOE determined that Standard 90.1-2004 saves more energy than Standard 90.1-1999, which was the previously referenced standard in the act.

“The quantitative analysis of the energy consumption of buildings built to Standard 90.1-2004, as compared with buildings built to Standard 90.1-1999, indicates national source energy savings of approximately 13.9 percent of commercial building energy consumption. Site energy savings are estimated to be approximately 11.9 percent,” according to the ruling published in The Federal Register on Dec. 30, 2008.

“We are pleased with this recognition that the 2004 standard saves more energy,” said Bill Harrison, president of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). “ASHRAE is currently working on the 2010 version of Standard 90.1 with a goal of achieving 30 percent energy savings compared to 90.1-2004 as part of our target to achieve market-viable net-zero-energy buildings by 2015.”

The DOE noted that the newer version of the standard contained 13 positive effects on energy efficiency. These included changes made through the public review process in which users of the standard comment and offer guidance on proposed requirements to the standard.

In addition, ASHRAE is working on providing more stringent energy guidance in a proposed standard for high-performance buildings. Being developed in partnership with IESNA and the U.S. Green Building Council, Standard 189.1 Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, will provide minimum requirements for the design of high-performance new commercial buildings and major renovation projects, addressing energy efficiency, a building’s impact on the atmosphere, sustainable sites, water use efficiency, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.

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Publication date:01/19/2009