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By Greg Zimmerman, Executive Editor
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Regarding the energy requirements, the standard covers seven major categories: envelope requirements, on-site renewable energy systems, mechanical equipment efficiencies, ventilation, energy-consumption data collection, peak-load control and lighting.
Buildings must first comply with a few requirements, including mandates for energy meters and data collection. From there, the project team can either take a prescriptive or performance path to compliance. The prescriptive path means that individual building systems must hit energy targets, many of which are based on the ASHRAE 90.1 standard. The performance path means that the whole building's energy use must be below a particular threshold based on a host of building-specific attributes (like climate, size of building, etc.). A building on the performance path must still meet the requirements for building systems in other sections of the standard.
During the second public review period of the standard, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory did an analysis on the energy provisions of 189.1. They determined that if a building met the minimum prescriptive requirements, it would be between 10 and 34 percent more efficient than a building that met the 2007 version of 90.1. The weighted average across all building types was 18 percent more efficient. Additionally, according to Holness, a 189.1-compliant building would be about 32 percent more efficient than a building built to the 2004 version of the 90.1 standard.
Despite the outpouring of interest in the new standard, it may be several months before the code is officially in place in any jurisdiction. The code adoption process is different for every jurisdiction except for one commonality: change takes time.
Jurisdictions with green initiatives already in place are obviously in the best position to take immediate advantage of the standard, says Holness. "I'm more concerned with jurisdictions trying to adopt the code with no experience in green. If a jurisdiction is still using 90.1-1989, adoption may be problematic. But for jurisdictions like New York City that have several years of strong interest in green, I have a fair amount of confidence they'll be able to implement the standard successfully."
The standard developers aren't resting on their laurels. Two addenda have already gone through public comment periods, just in the few months since the standard's release. And the committee is hard at work on several others. The addenda will be released 18 months after the initial release of the standard, and then new versions of the standard will appear on three-year cycles — the same process ASHRAE uses for 90.1 and USGBC is using for LEED. According to Holness, the next step is to internationalize the standard in order to make it more universal.
So it's clear that the release of the standard is really just the beginning of the work involved. And much needs to be done before the ultimate reason behind the standard — market transformation to green — is achieved. "We're trying to move the market forward," says Holness. "It's a lot of work, but we're all very excited."
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Green Standard Covers Seven Major Energy Requirement Categories