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ASHRAE Members Discuss Updated GreenGuide’s Changes, Significance

ASHRAE Members Discuss Updated GreenGuide’s Changes, Significance

From eSociety, December 2017

The built industry has evolved since the first ASHRAE GreenGuide was published in January 2004. Just about 14 years later, ASHRAE GreenGuide: Design, Construction and Operation of Sustainable Buildings, 5th Edition includes new and updated information that continues to help industry professionals design, build and maintain green buildings.

Using an integrated, building systems perspective, the ASHRAE GreenGuide, Fifth Edition, gives HVAC&R system designers, architects, building owners, building managers and operators and contractors the need-to-know information on green-building design. The fifth edition includes four new chapters: building-type GreenTips, green building design as it relates to existing buildings, aspects of green design for residential structures and emerging trends, and Epilogue. The updated edition also includes an extensively revised and expanded chapter on smart building systems.

Two of the authors of the ASHRAE GreenGuide, Fifth Edition–Thomas Lawrence, Ph.D., P.E., Fellow ASHRAE, and the chair of the editorial revision committee for the GreenGuide, and Janice Means, P.E., Life Member ASHRAE, who is the ASHRAE Regional V Vice Chair of Student Activities and a member of TC 2.8, Building Environmental Impacts and Sustainability, and TC 6.7, Solar Energy Utilization–discuss the significance of the fifth edition and how it helps the industry as well as how the industry has changed.


How has the built industry changed since the first GreenGuide was published in 2004?

Lawrence: Over the past 10-15 years, we have seen a maturation in the application of green (or maybe a better term is “high-performance”) building design.

Back with the first issuance of the GreenGuide, the concept of a “green building” was fairly new, and the target of that book edition was on new practitioners or more experienced HVAC engineers who needed to get additional information to help them, particularly if they were working on their first ‘green’ building project.  

Since that time, many of the concepts are at least somewhat understood by most all in the industry, even if not always put into practice (due to other market considerations).

Means: I would like to site a specific change since 2004. It relates to lighting. At that time, it was impossible to purchase LEDs unless through a scientific supply house for research. I know this because I had an EPA grant to develop an LED lamp in 2005. LED luminaires are commonly specified and installed today. They have had a significant impact on reducing energy use by lowering lighting electrical energy consumption while simultaneously reducing cooling loads.  

In a conversation last week at our Detroit ASHRAE Chapter Meeting, the person who heads up alternative energy programs at our local utility company shared that it was becoming very difficult to find additional electrical lighting energy reductions after the deep cuts have been made by replacing lamps with LEDs. Our new lighting chapter details how LEDs and advanced lighting controls can be employed today.


Why were four new chapters added to the fifth edition, and what is their significance?

Lawrence: Three of the four are brand new topics added to address new market trends or increase the focus.

ASHRAE is working to increase its visibility in the residential market.

The focus on existing buildings is important as well to broaden the application of this book, since new construction only represents 1-2% of the annual housing stock.

The building-type specific chapter is not really new content per se, but rather takes the building type GreenTips from the prior edition and make them a stand-alone chapter.  

The emerging trends chapter is intended to briefly mention areas that are becoming a greater focus (and might lead to new chapters or other materials in future editions).


As referenced in the preface, green design has become mainstream. What does this mean for ASHRAE members?

Lawrence: Mostly that the topic presented in this book is becoming part of their [industry professionals’] normal design and implementation practice.

For example, the concept of commissioning in the early 2000s was something that was occasionally done by the projects that wanted to be the best (or include LEED points). Now, for many projects (and most larger projects) at least a basic level of commissioning is the norm.

Therefore, this book is becoming more of a general reference for the membership rather than a special topic of interest only for some projects.