The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), with an assist from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), unveiled the nation's first code-intended commercial green-building standard to members of the media during its annual press breakfast just prior to the start of the 2010 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) Jan. 25 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

Published Jan. 22, ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1-2009, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, provides a "total building sustainability package" for those who design, build, and operate green buildings, covering site location to energy use to recycling.

The standard is a "game changer for the industry," Kent Peterson, PE, vice president and chief engineer of P2S Engineering Inc. in Long Beach, Calif., and chair of the Standard 189.1 committee, said during the breakfast.

Similar to green-building rating systems, Standard 189.1 covers topics such as site sustainability, water-use efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and a building's impact on the atmosphere. Unlike green-building rating systems, it is written in mandatory language to allow adoption within building codes.

"A green code is complimentary to LEED (the USGBC's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System)," Mark MacCracken, CALMAC Manufacturing Corp. president and Standard 189.1 committee vice chair and USGBC representative, said, "but they are not the same thing. Both are needed if we are to be successful."

Like ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, Standard 189.1 applies to:

  • Nonresidential spaces.
  • Residential spaces in buildings four stories and taller.

Additionally, Standard 189.1 applies to:

  • New buildings and their systems.
  • New portions of buildings and their systems.
  • New systems in existing buildings.

Applying the minimum set of prescriptive recommendations in the second of the standard's four public-review drafts, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (U.S. Department of Energy) estimated site energy savings, including plug and process loads, of 10 to 34 percent over Standard 90.1-2007. The weighted average across all building types was 18 percent. Following the second public review, additional energy-saving measures were incorporated into the standard.

"As a practicing engineer responsible for building design, I have to admit there have been times I was a little nervous about some of the implications of 189.1," Nick Ferzacca, associate principal of Architectural Engineers in Boston and Standard 189.1 committee vice chair and IES representative, said in a statement. "I guess this shouldn't be a surprise where the intent is to raise the bar."

Said MacCracken: "This is an important day in our quest to get everyone into a green building within a generation."