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New ASHRAE Passive Building Standard to Boost Use of Strategy

New ASHRAE Passive Building Standard to Boost Use of Strategy

 From eSociety, February 2019

ASHRAE’s new passive building design standard aims to make passive building commonplace, said the standard’s proposed chair.

Standard Project Committee 227P, Passive Building Design Standard, was approved during the 2019 ASHRAE Winter Conference in Atlanta in January.

The committee is now looking for members to create a standard that will help the industry further the use of this building design strategy that uses passive measures to reduce heating and cooling loads and energy bills. This standard’s purpose is to provide requirements for the design of buildings that have exceptionally low energy usage and that are durable, resilient, comfortable and healthy.

The committee’s proposed chair Graham Wright, Ph.D., Member ASHRAE, said the passive building strategy “has been experiencing a revival and rapid growth.”

“This growth has been driven by design guidelines,” he said. “But for even wider adoption, it’s important to go beyond voluntary and proprietary certifications and make an open standard that jurisdictions can adopt and make mandatory.”  

Wright, a senior scientist at Passive House Institute U.S., said the standard will be performance-based to allow for the most design flexibility as it will set targets on modeled energy use—particularly heating and cooling—and modeling protocol.

“It will not likely have a fully prescriptive compliance path. But it will have some mandatory best practices for construction quality as well as commissioning requirements,” he said.

The standard’s aim is not to be a holistic green building standard, he said, but it will focus on energy efficiency and the use of clean energy.

“We need to get a solid consensus, but we also want to move relatively quickly. Help us avoid process pitfalls,” he said. “Also, while suppressing heating/cooling energy use is the main focus, there are other energy end uses that the standard should address. We would like the standard to lay out a path to net zero emissions or 100% renewable energy use.”

Once an initial membership roster is approved, the committee will get to work. The committee is expected to meet during the 2019 ASHRAE Annual Conference in Kansas City where it will consider a work plan outline, said Wright.

Wright said the goal is to have the standard ready by 2021.