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Historical Buildings Under Scrutiny for Energy Efficiency

April 11, 2016

Proposed rule provides improvement options for older facilities.

A new guideline proposed by ASHRAE sets energy efficiency requirements for historic buildings, offering guidance for systems such as planning and operation, mechanical systems, lighting and building envelopes. The standard will also provide strategies for managers or owners of older properties to create and implement a range of energy conservation measures while minimizing disturbances to the historic character, characteristics and materials of the facility.

“Many codes and standards exempt such buildings from energy conservation requirements, based on an assumption that imposition of energy-saving measures may compete with preservation requirements,” says William Rose, member of the Guideline 34P committee. “Nevertheless, preservationists generally wish to balance the mandate to maintain the integrity and authenticity of their buildings with growing needs for energy conservation. And some codes, notably the recent International Energy Conservation Code, have moved from a blanket exemption to a narrower provision-by-provision basis.”

The proposed standard will apply to a wide range of historic building types, as well as include guidance for how to balance energy efficiency needs with preservation strategies. The 34P guideline is available for public comment through May 2, 2016 – learn more and submit a comment at the ASHRAE website.

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