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Federal Building Standard Could Cut Energy 18%

AshraeA major efficiency boost has received little media attention. The Energy Department has just published a rule updating federal building standards to align with the 2010 version of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 90.1. According to the DOE, this could save 18.2 percent more energy in commercial buildings than the 2007 version of the standard. And since the feds account for about 2 percent of all building energy consumption in the country, that’s no small potatoes.

Significant changes in the new standard include:

  • More stringent building envelope requirements;
  • Continuous air barrier and albedo roof requirements;
  • Higher equipment efficiencies – more requirements for energy recovery, economizers, and more energy-conserving controls;
  • Lowered interior lighting power densities, more occupant sensing controls and mandatory day lighting requirements;
  • Expanded scope to cover receptacles and process loads;
  • Expansion of modeling requirements.

While the federal government is often an early adopter of energy efficiency and other environmental technologies, in this case it may not be leading the pack. The just-approved LEED v4 standard, which will launch in the autumn, allocates about 20 percent of all points to optimizing energy performance over ASHRAE 2010.

The DOE’s new standard takes effect September 9.

Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.

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