A series of guides written by building organizations to advance energy efficiency is impacting the building industry positively, according to a new assessment commissioned by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

The market assessment, which focused on ASHRAE members’ use of the guides, determined that the Advanced Energy Design Guide series is in line with their objective of achieving 30-percent energy savings over the minimum code requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-1999, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.

The assessment, conducted by the Energy Center of Wisconsin, also found that more than 70 percent of ASHRAE members who have used the guides view them as credible and useful design resources and that the recommendations by climate zone and how-to tips are particularly helpful. Almost all participants in the assessment agree that they would use the guides on future projects. Users feel the guides serve as independent and credible third-party sources of information, are easy to understand, and provide practical, application-oriented recommendations for reducing building energy use.

With roughly 250,000 copies of the six guides in circulation, they are the most widely distributed documents that ASHRAE has published.

The guides have been developed in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The guides are available as free downloads at www.ashrae.org/freeaedg.

The 30-percent series includes publications on small retail, small office buildings, K-12 school buildings, warehouses and self-storage units, highway lodging, and small health-care facilities. Upcoming publications in the series include 50-percent guides, the first of which will focus on small to medium offices and is expected to be published in late spring 2011. The 50-percent guides will use Standard 90.1-2004 as the baseline for energy-efficiency improvements.