Since being introduced eight years ago to encourage energy efficient design in a range of building types, the Advanced Energy Design Guide series from ASHRAE and partnering organizations has hit the half-million circulation mark.

More than 500,000 copies of the books have been downloaded or purchased since first published in 2005. In 2008, ASHRAE began making the Advanced Energy Design Guide (AEDG) series available for free download at www.ashrae.org/freeaedg.

The books provide 30% and 50% energy savings when compared with the minimum code requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.

The series was developed by a committee representing a diverse group of energy professionals drawn from ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Department of Energy (DOE).

ASHRAE Fellow Don Colliver has overseen the development of the series since it began in 2003. He called for development of the series during his year as president of ASHRAE. During that time, he noted that ASHRAE had found “that a single document such as a code cannot effectively be used for multiple objectives,” and proposed simplification and increased usability by creating a suite of documents related to energy efficiency.

“This is truly a dream come true resulting from a challenge issued during my ASHRAE presidential theme address in June 2002. I knew I wasn't smart enough to do it but I knew that the team of people with whom I was associated would be able to get it accomplished – and they did,” Colliver said, jokingly.

In addition to the realization of his challenge to develop the guides, Colliver shared other things he most appreciates about the series:

•  It represents a coordinated, team effort of four major organizations representing over 300,000 of building professionals.

•   Each of the documents has been written by some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the industry. There is tremendous wealth of knowledge and wisdom amongst the project team members writing each document and they have been generous in sharing their time and knowledge to produce these documents with a ‘can-do’ attitude.

•   While there may have been considerable debates and a lot of learning going on, all of the project team members treated each other as equals, respected the opinions of the others and eventually made integrated design decisions. It is a great example of what can be done when design silos are replaced by integrated design mixing bowls.

•  There has been a uniformly great positive response from those who have read and used the documents. Colliver adds that it's rewarding to hear users say the guides provide insight and examples on how to design and construct buildings, which make them better stewards and provide better products rather than just specifying the bare minimums.

The 50% series includes books for large hospitals; medium to big box retail buildings; small to medium office buildings; and K-12 school buildings. The 30% series books targeting small office buildings; small retail buildings; K-12 school buildings; small warehouses and self-storage buildings; highway lodging; and small hospitals and healthcare facilities.

ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a building technology society with more than 50,000 members worldwide.