A New Standard for High-Performance Green Buildings

Feb. 17, 2010
Standard 189.1 establishes mandatory criteria in topic areas where few currently exist

The world of green building just became more standardized thanks to the recent release of Standard 189.1 – The Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, developed by ASHRAE in conjunction with the USGBC and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES).

Billed by ASHRAE as “a total sustainability package for those who strive to design, build, and operate green buildings,” 189.1 sets minimum requirements for high-performance green buildings. Standard 189.1 is an ANSI standard developed in model code language, and is suitable for adoption by federal, state, and local authorities. Standard 189.1 is not a design guide or rating system.

The goals of Standard 189.1 include establishing mandatory criteria in all topic areas (existing green building rating systems contain few mandatory provisions), providing simple compliance options and more flexible performance options, and complementing current green building programs. It is not intended to compete with green building rating systems, such as LEED and Green Globes. Six topic areas are covered: Sustainable Sites; Water Use Efficiency; Energy Efficiency; Indoor Environmental Quality; Impact on the Atmosphere, Materials & Resources; and Construction & Operations Plans. (See Standard 189.1 Topic Areas, left.)

Standard 189.1 Topic Areas

  1. Sustainable Sites:
    • Site selection
    • Reducing heat island effect
    • Reducing light pollution
  2. Water Use Efficiency:
    • Site water use
    • Building water use
    • Water measurement for buildings and subsystems
  3. Energy Efficiency:
    • Higher efficiency than 90.1-2007 and IECC-2009
    • Renewable energy provisions
    • Energy measurement verification
    • Electric peak load reduction
  4. Indoor Environmental Quality:
    • Indoor air quality
    • Daylighting
    • Acoustical control
  5. Impact on the Atmosphere, Materials & Resources:
    • Construction waste management
    • Reduced impact materials
    • Refrigerants
    • Storage and collection of recyclables and discarded goods
  6. Construction & Operations Plans:
    • Acceptance testing/commissioning
    • IAQ construction management plan
    • Operation plans for high-performance building operations, maintenance, service life, and transportation management
BOMA Ensures Workable, Cost-Effective Standard

The question for many industry practitioners (and BOMA members in particular) is whether the standard provides realistic, useful, and cost-effective guidelines and requirements. To ensure that those concerns were represented, BOMA was part of a consensus process project committee that included several organizations of diverse backgrounds, including real estate interests and design engineers. BOMA influenced the development of Standard 189.1 by securing more workable and cost-effective provisions, and negotiating compromises to ensure that tradeoffs were available for renewable energy and other requirements with potentially negative impacts. BOMA also brought considerations of project cost and the need to consider basic business investment principles to the process.

The end result is that BOMA supports the adoption and implementation of Standard 189.1 by federal, state, and local authorities to:

  • Provide for greater energy efficiency and sustainability than base energy codes.
  • Preserve building owner’s options in selecting designs, systems, or components that best meet their needs.
  • Ensure that the code is applicable only to buildings designated as “green” by the adopting authority, or participating in voluntary green building programs, or where owners have determined that compliance is advantageous.

As it begins to be implemented into the design of high-performance buildings, it will be interesting to see what the impact will be on green building and what the feedback will be from practitioners. For now, the initial success of the standard can be measured, at least in part, by the consensus dialogue that helped craft it.

Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings was released on Jan. 22, 2010. More information, including tools and resources, is available at www.ashrae.org/greenstandard.

Ron Burton is vice president of codes, standards, & regulatory affairs with BOMA International. He can be reached at [email protected].

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