Claire Ramspeck, director of technology, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) gave a highly informative presentation — “The Future Standards in High-Performance Buildings, Green Buildings and Sustainable Building Design” — during Schneider Electric's Initi@tive 2008 exposition Aug. 13-15 in Las Vegas.

Simply put, everything about the design and operation of buildings, both new and existing, from now on will be about saving energy and resources and being environmentally responsible. Ramspeck reiterated the frequently stated fact that buildings consume about 40 percent of the energy in the United States. She also noted that we can cut energy consumption by up to an additional 30 percent over the next quarter-century using cost-effective energy-efficiency measures. She predicted that total annual investments in energy efficiency could approach $400 billion by 2030. This staggering amount will be invested because property owners and managers, the public, and building codes will demand energy-efficient buildings, she said.

ASHRAE intends to play a major role in the push toward a more sustainable future. Among its goals is establishing a 30-percent increase in the stringency of ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2004, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, by 2010. It also plans to create net-zero-energy building-design tools for all commercial-building types by 2020 and to launch a high-performance building-design professional-certification program. It is important that an influential organization like ASHRAE become a leader in the green-building initiative.

What's amazing is that the technology already exists for buildings to save a lot of energy. It's a matter of how the technology is engineered and applied — no small feat — that makes the difference.

That's where the fifth annual Engineering Green Buildings (EGB) Conference and Expo, which will be held Oct. 21 and 22 in Las Vegas, comes in. You still have time to register for EGB, the only event focused on the design energy-efficient mechanical systems for non-residential green buildings. Many of the top guns in engineering will share their knowledge on how to make systems more energy-efficient today. Not by 2020 or even 2010. Today.

Please visit www.egbconference.com for more details on the conference and to register. I hope to see you there.


Send comments and suggestions to jeff.ferenc@penton.com.