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Standards, Research & Technology

MTG.EAS Energy-Efficient Air-Handling Systems for Non-Residential Buildings


MTG.EAS will coordinate activities of related ASHRAE technical and standards committees to facilitate development of packages of tools, technology, and guidelines related to the design, operation, and retrofit of energy-efficient air-handling systems in new and existing non-residential buildings. The intent is that these products can be integrated with industry processes and can be used to ensure that ASHRAE energy saving targets are met, to carry out high-profile demonstrations of improved air-handling systems, and to identify further energy saving opportunities.

Within ASHRAE, the MTG also will coordinate activities to update related parts of ASHRAE Handbooks and Standards (particularly 62.1, 90.1, and 189.1) and to develop related education programs for technology implementers. Outside of ASHRAE, the MTG will monitor related activities and represent ASHRAE interests where permitted to provide a conduit for related information transfer to ASHRAE members.

MTG.EAS is concerned with the interactions between non-residential air-handling system components, the building, and related activities, which include at least the activities of:

  • TCs 1.4 (Control Theory and Application), 1.8 (Mechanical System Insulation), 1.11 (Electric Motors and Motor Control), 4.3 (Ventilation Requirements and Infiltration), 4.7 (Energy Calculations), 5.1 (Fans), 5.2 (Duct Design), 5.3 (Room Air Distribution), 6.3 (Central Forced Air Heating and Cooling Systems), 7.1 (Integrated Building Design), 7.2 (HVAC&R Contractors and Design Build Firms), 7.7 (Testing and Balancing), 7.9 (Building Commissioning), and 9.1 (Large Building Air-Conditioning Systems);
  • TRG7 (Under Floor Air Distribution), and
  • SSPCs 62.1 (Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality), 90.1 (Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings), and 189.1 (Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings).

MTG.EAS - Energy-Efficient Air-Handling




Behls, Herman F


Behls and Associates

Wray, Craig P


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Bohanon, Hoy R


Working Buildings

Boldt, Jeffrey G


KJWW Engineering

Bouza, Antonio Martinez


U.S. Department of Energy

Collie, Peyton

 MEMBER - TC 7.2


Damiano, Leonard A



Fee, Allison N.



Filler, John M



Haberl, Jeff S


Texas A & M Univ

Hauer, Armin

 MEMBER - TC 1.11


Ivanovich, Michael


 King, Michael J


ARCOM Master Systems

Krioukov, Andrew

 MEMBER - i4Energy

 Lau, Josephine

 MEMBER - TC 4.3

Univ of Nebraska-Lincoln

Miller, Jeff R


 Modera, Mark P


UC Davis

Murphy, John A


Jogram Inc

Peet, Kenneth C


LSE Engineering Inc

Reid, Robert S


Tangilble Products Inc

Richardson, R Gaylon

MEMBER - TC 7.07, SPC 111

Engineered Air Balance

Sipes, Jerry M


Price Industries Incorporated

Stanke, Dennis A


Trane Commercial Systems, Ingersoll-Rand

Terzigni, Mark A



Abushakra, Bass


Milwaukee School of Engineering

Alexander, Darren S


TWA Panel Systems, Inc.

Anderson, Joseph R


Anderson Engineering

Baumann, Oliver

 ALTERNATE #1 - TC 7.1

Ebert & Baumann Consulting Engineers, Inc.

Brooks, Joseph


Air Movement & Control Assoc

Culler, David E.

 ALTERNATE - i4Energy

UC Berkeley

Emblem, Erik


 3 E International Inc

Eorgan, Timothy D

 Carlisle HVAC

Ganesh, Radha Krishna


Twin City Fan Companies

Gowri, Krishnan

 ALTERNATE - #2 TC 7.1

Pacific Northwest National Lab

Groeschel, Kenneth F


Butters-Fetting Co Inc

Kouvolo, Alex Max

 Kouvolo, Inc. (Retired)

Lord, Richard


United Technologies Carrier Corp

McLaughlin, Michael D


Southland Industries

Meredith, Dustin Eric Jason


Moffitt, Ronnie R



Murthy, Vikram


 Univac Environment Systems Pvt Ltd

 Neufcourt, Marc Duy-Minh



Petrillo, Laura Gardner


Reynolds, Brian L

 Trane Co

Scruton, Chris


California Energy Commission

Shen, Bo


Oak Ridge National Labs

Smith, Larry A


Lindab Inc

Stout, Bill


Eastern Sheet Metal



MTG.EAS Rationales

ASHRAE has goals of creating technologies and design approaches that enable the construction of net zero energy buildings at low incremental cost, and also of ensuring that the efficiency gains resulting from related R&D will result in substantial reduction in energy use for both new and existing buildings.

HVAC systems are the largest energy consumer in U.S. non-residential buildings, consuming about 40% of the non-residential sector source energy in Year 2003 or about $44 billion. Moving air to provide ventilation and space-conditioning may consume about a third to a half of this energy. Clearly, efficient air-handling systems that use as little energy as possible are needed for ASHRAE to achieve its goals.

Although the energy efficiency of many HVAC components in non-residential buildings has improved substantially over the past 20 years (e.g., chillers, air-handler drives), there is still a need to make other equally critical components more efficient (e.g., the air distribution system, which links heating and cooling equipment to occupied spaces). For example, field tests in hundreds of small non-residential buildings and a few large non-residential buildings suggest that system air leakage is widespread and large. It is often 25 to 35% of system airflow in smaller buildings, and can be as large as 10 to 25% in larger buildings. Based on field measurements and simulations by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, it is estimated that system leakage alone can increase HVAC energy consumption by 20 to 30% in small buildings and 10 to 40% in large buildings. Ducts located in unconditioned spaces, excessive flow resistance at duct fittings, poorly configured and improperly sized air-handler fans, unnecessarily high duct-static-pressure set-points, leaky terminal boxes, and inefficient terminal unit fans further reduce system efficiency, and in turn increase HVAC energy consumption even more.

There is no single cause for system deficiencies. One cause is that the HVAC industry is generally unaware of the large performance degradations caused by deficiencies, and consequently the problems historically have received little attention. For example, a common myth is that supply air leaking from a variable-air-volume (VAV) duct system in a ceiling return plenum of a large non-residential building does not matter because the ducts are inside the building. In fact, however, the supply ducts are outside the conditioned space, the leakage short-circuits the air distribution system, supply fan airflow increases to compensate for the undelivered thermal energy, and power to operate the fan increases considerably (power scales with the flow raised to an exponent between two and three depending on system type).

Other causes of the deficiencies include a lack of suitable analytical tools for designers (e.g., VAV systems are common in large non-residential buildings, but most mainstream simulation tools cannot model air leakage from these systems), poor architectural and mechanical design decisions (e.g., ducts with numerous bends are used to serve many zones with incompatible occupancy types), poor installation quality (e.g., duct joints are poorly sealed downstream of terminal boxes and in exhaust systems), and the lack of reliable diagnostic tools and procedures for commissioning (e.g., industry-standard duct leakage test procedures cannot easily be used for ducts downstream of terminal boxes). The highly fragmented nature of the building industry means that progress toward solving these problems is unlikely without leadership from and collaboration within ASHRAE.


Goals, Objectives, and Needs

Separate opportunities already exist to save 25 to 50% of HVAC system energy (e.g., sealing system leakage, right-sizing ducts and fans, using duct static pressure reset, wireless conversion of CAV systems to VAV). Collectively, facilitation and coordination of industry efforts is needed to better capture these opportunities and preferably to address system interactions and optimize air-handling system energy efficiency, with the ultimate goal of reducing HVAC-related energy use in buildings.

Therefore, one objective of MTG.EAS is to coordinate the development and assembly of complete packages of tools, technology, and guidelines by individual TC/TG/TRG/MTG/SPC/SSPCs. A second objective is to initiate high-profile demonstrations of the packages to attract the attention of major players, and to transition the packages into the market through public-private partnerships. These efforts should include working with industry partners to update ASHRAE Handbooks and Standards, and to develop education programs for technology implementers so that the design, installation, and commissioning of energy efficient air-handling systems becomes standard practice.

MTG.EAS intends to develop a strategic plan to guide future activities. As a straw man for now, five areas with particular needs that the MTG might address are:

  1. Improved Air-Handling System Airflow Diagnostics for Non-Residential Buildings

Several steps are needed to achieve accurate, cost effective diagnostic tests. One is to evaluate the applicability and reliability of recently developed distribution system leakage diagnostics for use in non-residential buildings and for system configurations that are gaining in popularity (e.g., under floor supply air distribution in larger buildings). A second is to develop reliable, less expensive ways to measure other air-handling system airflows (e.g., for fans). A third is to assess the applicability and acceptance of diagnostic tools and tests as training and quality control aids for the building industry, and a fourth is to initiate commercialization and standardization of these tools and tests.

  1. Improved Air-Handling System Performance Analysis Tools

ASHRAE Standard 152 calculation methods need to be extended to include non-residential buildings and to address air-handling system efficacy (i.e., thermal comfort) issues. Together with the measurements described below, modeling and analyses of air-handling system impacts on energy use and indoor environmental quality need to be carried out to establish baselines for standards and technical targets that are technologically feasible and economically justified over the life of the system, and to verify over time that program targets are being achieved. Standardized procedures for verifying whether targets are met also need to be developed.

  1. Characterize Air-Handling Systems and Assess System Repair in Non-Residential Buildings

More field data need to be collected about the physical characteristics of air-handling systems in existing buildings, and there is a need to demonstrate performance gains that are actually obtained by system improvements. Also, research is needed to determine the long-term durability of system sealants. New information about diagnostics and performance needs to be integrated into improved versions of current system sealing and insulation retrofit manuals for small building owners and HVAC contractors (and into new manuals for use in the large building sector).

  1. Distribution System Guidelines for New and Retrofit Construction

Even though numerous publications about HVAC system design, testing, and balancing are available or are in preparation, none address the use of appropriate metrics and procedural guidelines for designing and commissioning energy efficient air-handling systems. ASHRAE guidelines about design and installation practices need to be developed to avoid problems that occur in the current non-residential building stock. Stand-alone guidelines for use by building designers, owners, and HVAC contractors describing how to commission air-handling systems also need to be developed.

  1. Advanced Technology Applications

New air-handling system technologies that allow life-cycle cost effective reduction in energy use while meeting indoor environmental quality and sustainability requirements for non-residential buildings need to be developed. Aerodynamic improvements are needed to reduce system effects and to make fans and other components less susceptible to loss of efficiency during part load operation. Integration of air-handling, hydronic, and building systems needs further examination. Proof of concept prototypes need to be built in collaboration with equipment manufacturers, and then will need to be tested in the laboratory and in the field to demonstrate performance improvements and to support the development of related new standards.


Current and Upcoming Activities

  • MTG.EAS was officially approved in January 2012. Roster formation is nearly complete.
  • The first MTG conference call will be held in mid June 2012. The agenda will be brief voting member introductions, solicitation of short bios for each member for internal distribution within the MTG, and a review of goals, objectives, and steps moving forward. The first follow-on activity will be creating a strategic working document seeded by the MTG proposal that TAC considered in Chicago. Each member will be asked to get input from the group they represent over the next few months (during the San Antonio meeting if possible) and to bring back at least three key strategic ideas each that they or their group would like to work on. Then, after the San Antonio meeting (probably late August/early September), an ad hoc subcommittee of the MTG will be formed to consolidate ideas, define a work plan, and form further subcommittees.


The MTG is intended to be an active collaborative effort. A member’s involvement will be at a strategic level, and will focus on coordinating research, handbook, program, and standards activities of various technical groups and organizations. Meetings will occur by webinars and conference calls before and after ASHRAE’s Winter and Annual Conferences, so participation will not involve travel. No schedule has been developed yet.


Meeting Minutes


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