Engineered Systems Magazine

DOE takes first step in updating commercial buildings reference standard

May 20, 2014

Preliminary analysis from the U.S. Department of Energy shows that the ASHRAE/IES’s 2013 energy efficiency standard contains energy savings over the 2010 standard of 8.5% source energy and 7.6% site energy. According to ASHRAE, this is the first step by the DOE in issuing a ruling that could establish the 2013 standard as the commercial building reference standard for state building energy codes.

In an announcement in the May 13 edition of “The Federal Register,” DOE attributes the greater energy savings to improvements in ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2013, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, related to better lighting, fans, commercial refrigeration, boilers and controls.

The DOE is now receiving comments on the preliminary determination. More information can be found here.

If the preliminary determination is finalized, then states would be required to update their codes to meet or exceed the 2013 standard. Currently, states must meet or exceed the 2010 standard, which serves as the commercial building reference standard for state building energy codes under the federal Energy Conservation and Production Act. 

The DOE noted that the 2013 standard contains 52 positive impacts on energy efficiency that were incorporated into the analysis. These impacts included changes made through the public review process in which users of the standard comment and offer guidance on proposed requirements. Specifically the major positive impacts include, control requirements for lighting alternations, new requirements for individual fans, reduction of energy usage for large boilers, reduction of fan energy usage, and new efficiency requirements for commercial refrigeration.