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Upcoming Guides

Center of Excellence for Building Decarbonization

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Series of Guidebooks

Understanding Grid-Interactive Buildings for Decarbonization: Stay up to date with the future of sustainable building practices with theGrid-Interactive Buildings for Decarbonization: Design and Operation Resource Guide. This guide is aimed at addressing the challenge of decarbonization in the built environment. Grid interactivity is a relatively new practice for most ASHRAE members, and buildings have a role in decarbonizing the power grid and managing their carbon budget; therefore, this guide provides information to enable readers to maximize carbon reduction through a building’s interaction with the electric power grid.


Building Performance Standards: A Technical Resource GuideThe Building Performance Standards: A Technical Resource Guide is guide is intended to provide technical basis and resources to policymakers, building owners, facility managers, design professionals and ASHRAE members when developing and implementing a Building Performance Standard (BPS). The guide focuses on larger building types and scope of BPS as developed by leading U.S. cities and states. The guide covers BPS aimed toward reducing building operating energy use and resulting emissions and does not cover embodied energy or carbon, which will be addressed by The Whole Life Carbon Guide for Building Systems.

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Decarbonizing Hospital Buildings: This guide for hospital facility managers, capital planners, hospital architectural and engineering teams, sustainability leaders, contractors and other building stakeholders specifically shows how to reduce GHG emissions in hospital buildings. Background: North America hospital buildings have one of the largest carbon use intensities (CUI) of all building types. Owners of these buildings have a high interest in contributing to population (public) health by first, doing no harm. The challenges for decarbonizing healthcare buildings are much more complex than those for other buildings because of their unique needs in terms of the number and complexity of systems, infection prevention needs, regulatory environment, abundance of technology to deliver healthcare services, and needs for resilience. This guide will fill the need for hospitals but will also provide insight for other building types.


    Decarbonizing Building Thermal Systems: A Guide for Applying Heat Pumps and Beyond, Developed in cooperation with the Department of Energy.  This guide for design engineers and building operators focuses on how heat pumps should be applied and how they should be operated in commercial and multifamily buildings to support decarbonization. The guide provides guidance to design engineers on various heat pump-specific design elements including application and sizing in different climate zones, system configuration and refrigerants, electrical requirements, and control and operation strategies for space and hot water applications. The Heat Pump Application and Operation Guide will represent a critical resource to building designers and operators to support widespread adoption of this building decarbonization strategy.  Stay tuned as the guide becomes expanded in 2025!

    Building Decarbonization Retrofits for Commercial and Multifamily Buildings, expected release August 2024: This guide for design engineers provides a framework for decarbonizing existing commercial and multi-family buildings. Decarbonization of the existing building stock is essential to meet any decarbonization goal. While many of the principles of decarbonization apply to both new construction and existing buildings, existing buildings present unique challenges and considerations that require a different solution framework. This guide will provide specific solutions, guidance, and case studies to decarbonize buildings in the commercial and multi-family building sectors.

    CIBSE TM65 for North America, expected release September 2024: The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) developed and published ‘TM65 Embodied carbon in building services: a calculation methodology’ in 2021. TM65 outlines the need for assessment of the embodied carbon of mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems and guidance on how to estimate the embodied carbon of MEP products when environmental product declarations (EPDs) are not available. TM65 provides valuable guidance for the MEP community and beyond; however many of the method’s inherent assumptions are specific to the United Kingdom (UK).

    There is a need for this type of guidance for other parts of the world, and CIBSE has developed a guidance ‘Addendum’ for adapting TM65 for other parts of the world: ‘How to use TM65 outside the UK’. This guidance addendum defines how to create a regional TM65 addendum. The objective of this effort is to develop an addendum of TM65 for North America (Canada, USA, Mexico). Having a standard method for estimating the embodied carbon of MEP products that is consistent with a globally recognized approach will help fill in the missing gaps in embodied carbon data until more EPDs are available. 

    Whole Life Carbon Guide for Building Systems, expected release September 2024: This guide provides design engineers strategies to minimize the whole life carbon emissions from building mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems. MEP systems are major contributors to the operational energy consumption and whole life carbon emissions of buildings. Recent studies have shown that the embodied emissions from MEP systems can be between 15% and 49% of the total building embodied emissions and even higher if photovoltaic (PV) systems are included on the building. To minimize the whole life carbon emissions of MEP systems, tradeoffs between the embodied carbon and the operational carbon emissions, and among MEP, architectural and structural systems emissions should be considered. This guide will provide ASHRAE members and others with the definitions, concepts, and comprehensive guidance needed to calculate, interpret, and integrate life cycle data from multiple sources to design MEP systems for low whole life carbon emissions.