ATLANTA — The development of biomass requirements is being explored by ASHRAE, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), for inclusion in their co-sponsored green building standard.

ASHRAE/IES/USGBC Standard 189.1, “Standard for the Design of High Performance Green Buildings,” which contains minimum requirements for the siting, design, and construction of high-performance green buildings in support of reducing building energy use, resource consumption, and other environmental impacts. To that end, the standard contains requirements for the use of renewable energy systems such as solar, wind, and geothermal.

The Standard 189.1 committee recently considered a proposal to add biomass to the definition of renewable energy systems, which was submitted by an interested individual from outside the committee. In this context, biomass includes organic material, such as wood and crop waste, that can be burned to generate thermal energy. At ASHRAE’s 2015 Winter Conference in Chicago, the committee voted not to accept the proposal to simply add the word biomass to this definition. However, in its response to the proposal, the committee stated it intends to work on a definition of biomass as well as requirements on the use of biomass to meet the renewable energy requirements of the standard, according to Andy Persily, committee chair.

While the proposal from the committee must first go through the ASHRAE standards development procedures and public review, the committee is committed to developing a technically sound and responsible approach to include biomass as a renewable energy. Persily noted the standard currently has no restrictions on the use of biomass as an energy source; however, it does not allow it to be used to meet the renewable energy requirements.

Publication date: 3/9/2015 

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