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Is Your Building Operating at Net Zero Energy or Zero Carbon?

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©2024 This excerpt taken from the article of the same name which appeared in ASHRAE Journal, vol. 66, no. 6, June 2024.

About the Author

Dennis R. Landsberg, Ph.D., P.E., BEAP, is CEO of L&S Energy Services, Inc. in Las Vegas.
Jim Edelson, is senior climate advisor of the New Buildings Institute in Portland, Ore. Chris Lee, P.Eng., is decarbonization lead at Adaptis in Toronto, ON, Canada. Valerie Lisi is associate director, sustainability/HVAC at Carrier Corporation, Buffalo, N.Y.

In the spring of 2023, ASHRAE published the first edition of ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 228, Standard Method of Evaluating Zero Net Energy and Zero Net Carbon Building Performance. It contains a method of evaluating a building, or group of buildings, to determine if they’ve achieved “zero net energy” and/or “zero net carbon” operation. This article outlines measurement methods contained in Standard 228, details of its development and how it compares and interacts with other carbon-related ASHRAE standards.

Standard 228 draws from ASHRAE Standards 100 and 105, defines site boundaries, quantifies energy and carbon flows and determines their balance. Given annual climate and occupancy variations, Standard 228 can serve as an ongoing, multiyear affirmation of achieving net zero operation for energy and/or carbon emissions.

Standard 228 can be used during the design and operation phases of new and existing buildings to track energy and carbon performance during their lifetime to verify whether the annual net energy use and the carbon emissions are zero. In practice, weather extremes, building occupancy and the state of the building can have significant impacts on energy and carbon use. Without sufficient ongoing maintenance or ongoing commissioning, a building can go out of tune significantly in only a handful of years; therefore, one of the best use cases of the standard is continual tracking, where it can inform adjustments made to the building operation and systems as needed to maintain zero net energy or zero net carbon operation.

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