How “green” does a project have to be to meet ASHRAE specifications?

That’s what society officials are trying to determine.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers is currently drafting a standard to establish environmental-building guidelines for so-called green projects.

The U.S. Green Building Council, which administers the popular Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America are assisting in the effort.

Known as Standard 189, “Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings,” it encompasses energy efficiency, environmental impact, water use, materials and indoor air quality. The society is seeking public input through July 9.

Society officials have high goals for the proposed rules.

“Standard 189P will become the benchmark for all sustainable, green buildings in the United States, because it is being developed for inclusion into building codes,” said John Hogan, chairman of the committee writing the standard. “This means that owners and designers will have a consensus-based document that will set the minimum criteria that a building must satisfy in order to be considered a green building. The real impact of Standard 189P is that ASHRAE, along with IESNA and USGBC, are taking advanced energy conservation guidance mainstream for the general public’s benefit.”

Unlike LEED and similar programs that score buildings based on energy efficiency and use of recyclable materials, the ASHRAE proposal is a compilation of criteria that if adopted by communities, will be included as prerequisites for occupancy permits.

Under discussion are increasing the required amounts of outdoor air above the levels in ASHRAE’s Standard 62, which deals with IAQ, and requiring carbon monoxide sensors.

The full standard is available at .