Updates to Standard 90.1

Are you concerned about maintaining your ASHRAE 90.1 compliance in the coming year?

ASHRAE 90.1 – Energy Standards for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings – has often been a challenge for architects, designers, engineers, and facilities teams. It applies strict documentation standards and stiff penalties.

Believe it or not, ASHRAE 90.1 has already been a part of the construction world for decades: The first version was published in 1975. Since then, however, energy consumption has become a priority in many segments of society and underlying technologies have changed dramatically.
As of 2016, the structure of the standards will be modernized, too.

A New Path to ASHRAE 90.1 Compliance Offers New Opportunities

The ASHRAE 90.1 standards cover a wide variety of issues that go into construction planning and building design. These include fundamental basics of the building envelope, HVAC system performance, domestic hot water, power, lighting, and requirements for a range of electrical equipment.

Traditionally, two paths to compliance have been available:

  • Prescriptive: This compliance path is achieved when all a building’s components meet minimum requirements.
  • Performance: This path can be achieved when a proposed building design is demonstrated to use less energy than a baseline building that follows ASHRAE 90.1 specifications.

As 2016’s version of the standard nears completion, the ASHRAE organization has released a guidance document (available in the ASHRAE online bookstore) that provides details on an optional third compliance path. Although full text of the 2016 standards has yet to be released, Addendum bm, which applies to ASHRAE 90.1 Appendix G, is now available as a “clean publication of a portion” of the standard.

How Does the New Addendum Change Compliance?

Readers will discover two major changes. First and most significantly: Appendix G no longer applies exclusively to beyond-code structures. Instead, it can be used to demonstrate basic compliance with ASHRAE 90.1. This means integrated design features that capture significant energy savings, such as selecting an efficient and “right-sized” HVAC system, will provide credit toward compliance.
Second, beyond-code building programs are encouraged by providing for simplification of ongoing compliance measurement. Baseline designs are now fixed at a specific level of performance, which is expected not to change in future versions of the standard. As such, virtually all structures from a given time period can be rated using the same methodology.

Thanks to this change, facilities managers and other building stakeholders have a golden opportunity to capture long-term advantages from selecting the ideal HVAC system or retrofitting their existing HVAC system to achieve superior energy performance.  Not only will such systems deliver ongoing cost savings, but they will also make a significant difference in streamlining the compliance process for one of the most complex standards in the industry.

Although ASHRAE 90.1 2016 is still evolving, the time is right to take advantage of this regulatory sea change. To optimize your HVAC system, save money, and maximize performance, contact Donnelly Mechanical.

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