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ASHRAE Task Force for Building Decarbonization

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Series of Seven Guidebooks

Building Performance Standards: A Technical Resource Guide: The first in a series of seven guides, 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 are addressed by The Whole Life Carbon Guide for Building Systems.

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    Grid Interactive Buildings for Decarbonization: Design and Operation Resource Guide, expected release October 2023: This guide for building operators, designers, owners, consultants, and other building stakeholders includes techniques and practices needed to enable buildings to maximize the benefits from the grid while minimizing carbon impact of the grid and building. This guide builds on the existing ASHRAE Smart Grid Application Guide by providing specific design and operational parameters for building projects that allow the audience to maximize carbon reduction in their interaction with the grid. This guide has decarbonization as the primary goal and provides guidance on controls as they shift toward more real-time, automated interaction with the grid.

    Heat Pump Application, Design, and Operation Guide, published by the US Department of Energy, expected release January 2024: This guide for design engineers and building operators will focus on how heat pumps should be applied and how they should be operated in commercial and multifamily buildings to support decarbonization. The guide will provide 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.

    Whole Life Carbon Guide for Building Systems, expected release January 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.

    CIBSE TM65 for North America, expected release February 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. 

    Decarbonizing Hospital Buildings, expected release March 2024: 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.

    Building Decarbonization Retrofits for Commercial and Multifamily Buildings, expected release May 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.