Sustainability: ASHRAE 90.1

While attending the main committee meeting of ASHRAE 90.1 in January, the Chairman basically challenged the committees and sub-committees by asking; "What is next for 90.1 and energy codes?" He further amplified that 90.1 had been raising the bar for the last several cycles and he was looking for concepts for the next level of performance.

Although no one answered the question, there were a lot of private conversations going on. I believe the most common theme to these side bar discussions were the transition to Outcome Based Energy Efficiency Performance Requirements.

NEEP, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership, reported that Performance-based codes use energy modeling software to demonstrate that a building’s predicted energy consumption/cost is equal to or lower than a baseline target specified by prescriptive code requirements. This baseline reference value is generated from prescriptive code components such as materials and systems together with inputs from the proposed building. For example, building orientation and occupancy schedules.

Code officials would then review energy efficiency results to verify compliance, a strategy that allows for greater flexibility because the energy modeling is capable of evaluating a variety of design strategies, components and technologies. In this way, new buildings benefit from modeling efforts that determine the means by which to achieve the greatest energy savings for the least cost. 

Performance-based codes can be strengthened further with mandatory minimum requirements that make compliance verification easier.

Re-Inventing Building Energy Codes as Technology and Market Drivers was presented at the 2010 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. The concept of mandatory minimum requirements for certain components, such as the envelope, recquire a performance code path to be developed.

The example that Chris Mathis, Mathis Consulting Company, suggested was that minimum U-values could be set as minimum requirements possibly based on building type and climate zone. Then let the market decide the technology solutions to deliver the U-Values.

The National Institute of Building Sciences  is also moving this direction with comments with advancing outcome based energy efficiency in ASHRAE 189.1 – Standard for the Design of High Performance Green Buildings

Outcome Based Energy Efficiency Performance Requirements are certainly not a new concept but perhaps the time has come for beginning a transition to actually adopt into Code?

Insulated Metal Panels already use a performance path for compliance and Kingspan can demonstrate how this concept works on your next project.

Transform from inefficient energy systems to efficient performance based codes and solutions.

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