ASHRAE is working to ensure guidance on sustainable design is incorporated in its Handbook to help engineers respond to environmental challenges.

The organization is conducting a review of the sustainability content of all Handbook chapters and is looking at writing a new chapter on sustainability with a view toward integrated building design in its Fundamentals volume. "While the word ‘sustainability' only recently entered the vocabulary of ASHRAE, the Society was involved with sustainable building and HVAC equipment design long before the term was coined," Norm Maxwell, P.E., chair of the Handbook Committee, said.

He noted that ASHRAE has funded research for decades to allow builders and manufacturers to design and build higher efficiency buildings, HVAC systems, and refrigeration equipment. In addition to designing systems that will save energy and therefore operating costs, sustainability requires design professionals to take into account the length of service of the equipment that is proposed, he said.

The end result must be a total building concept that will not have to be replaced quickly and have a long service life.