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New ASHRAE GreenGuide explores sustainability evolution

January 21, 2014
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According to ASHRAE, when the first edition of “its GreenGuide” was first published 10 years ago, guidance on the practice of green building design was not so readily available.

“Since 2004, the industry has witnessed the continued evolution of green building programs from strictly voluntary to being both more in the industry mainstream as well as being mandatory in jurisdictions that adopted these for their building codes,” said Tom Lawrence, a member of ASHRAE’s technical committee (TC 2.8) on building environmental impacts and sustainability.

The newly published fourth edition of the “ASHRAE GreenGuide” contains updated guidance that reflects how green building practices as well as the industry have changed, according to Lawrence.

“ASHRAE GreenGuide: Design, Construction, and Operation of Sustainable Buildings, 4th Edition” was released during ASHRAE’s 2014 Winter Conference on January 20 in New York. For more information, visit www.ashrae.org/greenguide.

Lawrence said the guide contains several changes that will impact green building design.

First is a complete revision of the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) chapter with much of the content based on the “Indoor Air Quality Guide: Best Practices for Design, Construction and Commissioning.”

“While it is challenging as well as important to provide good indoor environmental quality in an energy efficient manner, in some cases the most effective means to improve IEQ can also save energy,” he said. “IEQ should not be sacrificed strictly to obtain energy use reductions. After all, the purpose of such buildings is to support the activities for which the building exists and to do so in a manner that does the least harm to the environment while enhancing the health and well-being of the human occupants.”

Another change is a new chapter on sustainable sites. While site issues may be outside the normal purview of most typical ASHRAE members, Lawrence notes that site sustainability is an important part of the design process of the future sustainable built environment.

As in previous editions, the book contains GreenTips, or sidebars containing information on techniques, processes, measures, or systems. There are 44 GreenTips in this edition, including new ones on topics such as condensing boilers, rain gardens, green roofs, and data centers.

To order, visit www.ashrae.org/bookstore.

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