New Building Standards Focus on Efficiency, Comfort, and Lighting

June 1, 2011

Three organizations aim to boost commercial building performance by premiering new standards and guidelines.

ASTM formulated its new building standard in response to the growing emphasis on energy performance disclosure regulations in many areas.

"ASTM E2797 is expected to be the foundation for accurate and reliable building energy use data collection, compilation, and analysis," says Anthony Buonicore, a member of the committee that developed E2797, 11 Standard Practices for Building Energy Performance Assessment for a Building Involved in a Real Estate Transaction.

The EPA revised ENERGY STAR standards for certifying lighting fixtures. Starting Oct. 1, fixtures must increase efficiency 30% above currently qualified fluorescent fixtures to earn the ENERGY STAR label. These requirements become stricter in 2013, when fixtures must provide 40% higher efficiency.

Bulbs in ENERGY STAR qualified fixtures last at least 10 times longer than standard light bulbs, according to the EPA. Other mandated performance requirements include quick start-up, high-quality light output, and reduced toxins in the materials.

ASHRAE's new guideline examines the interactions between air quality, thermal conditions, lighting, and acoustics. Guideline 10-2011, Interactions Affecting the Achievement of Acceptable Indoor Environments, is aimed at helping readers understand existing energy, ventilation, IAQ, and thermal standards and use them to achieve good indoor environments.

Guideline 10 is most important in low-energy building design to ensure indoor environmental quality receives full consideration, ASHRAE says.

"The guideline summarizes what research and experience have taught us about the complex interplay of the wide range of factors that determine occupants' reactions to the buildings they inhabit," says Hal Levin, chair of the committee that wrote the guideline.

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