ASHRAE's Guide Reflects Decade's Energy Efficiency Evolution

Originally published by: Green Lodging NewsJanuary 23, 2014

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When the first edition of the “ASHRAE GreenGuide” was first published 10 years ago, guidance on how to practice green building design was not so readily available. “Since 2004, the industry has witnessed the continued evolution of green building programs—from strictly voluntary to being both more in the industry mainstream as well as being mandatory in jurisdictions that adopted these for their building codes,” said Tom Lawrence,  a member of ASHRAE’s technical committee (TC 2.8).

The newly published fourth edition of the “ASHRAE GreenGuide” contains updated guidance that reflects how green building practices as well as the industry have changed, according to Lawrence.

ASHRAE GreenGuide: Design, Construction, and Operation of Sustainable Buildings, 4th Edition, uses an integrated, building systems perspective to provide need-to-know information on what to do, where to turn, what to suggest, and how to interact with other members of the design team in a productive way.

IEQ Chapter Revised

Lawrence said the guide contains several changes that will impact green building design. First is a complete revision of the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) chapter with much of the content based on the Indoor Air Quality Guide: Best Practices for Design, Construction and Commissioning.

“While it is challenging as well as important to provide good indoor environmental quality in an energy efficient manner, in some cases the most effective means to improve IEQ can also save energy,” he said. “IEQ should not be sacrificed strictly to obtain energy use reductions. After all, the purpose of such buildings is to support the activities for which the building exists and to do so in a manner that does the least harm to the environment while enhancing the health and well-being of the human occupants.”

Another change is a new chapter on sustainable sites. While site issues may be outside the normal purview of most typical ASHRAE members, Lawrence notes that site sustainability is an important part of the design process of the future sustainable built environment. The chapter provides a summary of the key issues in the following topical areas:

Where to locate the building project;
Landscaping;
Urban heat island effect;
Exterior lighting/light as a pollution source; and
Storm water management.

As in previous editions, the book contains GreenTips—sidebars containing information on techniques, processes, measures or systems. There are 44 GreenTips in this edition, including new ones on topics such as condensing boilers, rain gardens, green roofs and data centers.

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