New commercial building energy code released

The update includes a new compliance path and significant technical changes affecting building envelope, and mechanical and lighting systems. 

December 22, 2016 |

Photo: Elizabeth Anderson via flickr

The 2016 version of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1, the Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, was recently released.

The update includes a new compliance path and significant technical changes affecting building envelope, and mechanical and lighting systems. The document contains 121 new addenda since publication of the previous version: the 2013 standard.

The 2016 edition contains a new compliance path, the Performance Rating Method, which is included in Appendix G. The provision was previously used only to rate “beyond code” performance of buildings; it now serves as an alternative to the traditional performance path.

Among the most significant technical changes are:

Envelope:
• Mandatory requirements for envelope verification, supporting reduced air infiltration, and increased requirements for air leakage to overhead coiling doors.
• More stringent prescriptive requirements for metal building roofs and walls, fenestration, and opaque doors. 
• Improved clarity of exterior walls definitions, building orientation, and clarity around the effective R-value of air spaces.
• New requirements based on the addition of climate zone 0.

Lighting:
• Modified control requirements to simplify advanced lighting control applications.
• New exterior and interior lighting power densities based on LED technology.
• Requirements for dwelling units to set limits on light source efficacy.
• Additional controls for lighting in parking areas.

Mechanical:
• Chilled water plant metering, requiring large electric driven chilled water plants to be monitored for electric energy use and efficiency.
• DOAS requirements, adding efficiency and rating requirements for dedicated outside air systems.
• Elevator efficiency, introducing requirements for identifying usage category and efficiency class.
• Economizer fault detection and diagnostics, implementing monitoring system requirements for air-cooled DX cooling units with economizers, helping to ensure that equipment is working properly.
• New requirements for replacement equipment, such as adding economizers or fan speed control, which previously only applied to new installations.

More information on code adoption and related technical assistance is available at energycodes.gov.

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