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ASHRAE defines 9 working groups for building decarbonization

Aug. 30, 2021
The ASHRAE Task Force for Building Decarbonization is poised to help the built environment lower its carbon use.

In the July 2021 Insights Newsletter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), it was revealed that the newly formed ASHRAE Task Force for Building Decarbonization "is poised to help the built environment lower its carbon use." The newsletter went on to add that "since being formed this spring, the task force has grown from 15 people to more than 120 volunteers on nine working groups, including a group focused on creating an ASHRAE position document on decarbonization."

ASHRAE said that one of the task force’s goals is to provide recommendations and strategies to industry professionals and stakeholders about how to achieve decarbonization goals.

“We need to develop and provide tools for people to determine how much carbon they need to save, how they can become energy efficient and how they can reduce carbon,” commented one of the task force’s co-chairs, Thomas Phoenix, P.E., BEMP, Presidential/Fellow/Life Member ASHRAE.

9 working groups for building decarbonization

Phoenix and his fellow co-chair Donald Colliver, Ph.D., P.E., Presidential/Fellow/Life Member ASHRAE, updated the industry on the task force’s progress during the 2021 ASHRAE Virtual Annual Conference in late June. Their update included introducing the task force’s 9 working groups. Per ASHRAE, these are as follows:

  • The Position Document Working Group is set to help create a position document outlining ASHRAE’s positions on embodied carbon, operational carbon and more.
  • The Operational Carbon Working Group’s directives include identifying issues in migrating to less-carbon intensive energy sources and developing strategies to transition from an energy-based metric to a carbon-based metric.
  • The Embodied Carbon/Life-Cycle Assessment Working Group’s goals include providing guidance on how to measure carbon in materials, products, services and processes from cradle to grave.
  • The Research/Knowledge Hub Working Group’s task is to collaborate with others to identify and archive resources.
  • The Building Performance Standards Working Group will help identify ways of measuring and reporting building performance and define metrics to measure energy and carbon targets and goals for carbon reduction and more.
  • The Appliance and Equipment Standards Working Group’s goals include reviewing various methods to quantify the total carbon emissions from appliance and equipment use.
  • The Grid-Building Intersection Working Group is set to provide guidance about using secure building-grid communication systems to enable integration of low-carbon distributed energy resources and more.
  • The Building Standards and Codes Working Group’s duties include identifying standards and codes related to building decarbonization and determining what technical guidance and resources are needed to update them.
  • The Carbon Sequestration on Building Sites Working Group is set to identify carbon sequestration methods and technologies and develop the data and resources necessary to assess the relevancy and applicability of these technologies in reducing carbon emissions at the site level.
  • The Training and Education Working Group’s goals include identifying and proposing learning resources.

ASHRAE's newsletter noted that the aforementioned working groups have been meeting regularly since April. "But people are continuing to join the groups," noted Colliver.

"The task force is also reaching out to ASHRAE’s technical committees to help. Each one of them has something that they can add to our studies as we begin to develop ways to get to zero carbon,” ASHRAE's Phoenix concluded.

Learn more at https://www.ashrae.org/.

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