The impact of the U.S. buildings is surprisingly large, with CO2 emissions alone approximately equaling the combined emissions of Japan, France and the United Kingdom for transportation, industry and buildings.

The U.S. Federal government is the nation’s single largest energy consumer and greenhouse gas emitter, and in Congress’s efforts to seek ways of improving the energy efficiency of federal buildings, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization and Procurement held a hearing on Wednesday, July 21 to examine the federal government’s role in greening buildings.

Testifying at the hearing, ASHRAE President Lynn G. Bellenger said that, “over the years significant progress has been made in the federal, commercial and residential sectors, and we are poised to embark on a new era of energy efficiency and taxpayer dollar stewardship that will lead us to net-zero-energy buildings.

“Going forward, maximizing building efficiency and sustainability will require a fundamental shift in how buildings have been approached – from design to operation. Working together toward a whole building approach that fully considers how each system and building component will interact – instead of each discipline focusing on their own area of expertise – will be an essential element of ensuring that taxpayer dollars are well-spent,” Bellenger said.

ASHRAE has long-partnered with the federal government on efforts to improve building efficiency, and ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential, now serves as both a federal building standard and the national reference for state-adopted commercial building codes.

During the hearing, Bellenger highlighted several efforts and initiatives that ASHRAE is engaging in that will help lead to increased building efficiency, including ASHRAE’s:
• Advanced Energy Design Guides for achieving 30 percent savings over Standard 90.1-1999, the forthcoming Guides for achieving 50 percent savings, followed by Guides for achieving net-zero-energy consumption (www.ashrae.org/freeaedg)
• Certification programs for high-performance building design, building energy modeling, healthcare facility design, commissioning process and operations and performance management professionals (www.ashrae.org/certification)
• Building Energy Quotient (Building EQ) labeling program that includes both As Designed (asset) and In Operation (operational) ratings for all building types, except residential. Building EQ allows the general public, tenants, building owners, prospective owners, operations and maintenance personnel and others to quickly and easily view how energy efficient a building is in operation compared to its design through an easily understood letter grade and color scale (www.buildingeq.com)
• Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential – the first code-intended green building standard in the United States. Published by ASHRAE in collaboration with IES and USGBC, Standard 189.1 also serves as a jurisdictional compliance option of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), published by the International Code Council. (www.ashrae.org/greenstandard)