DOE updates standards to improve energy efficiency in code-compliant commercial buildings

DOE affirms standard 90.1-2022

The DOE’s technical analysis indicates that buildings meeting 90.1-2022 could increase national average site energy estimate savings by 14.0 percent, as standard 90.1-2022 introduces onsite renewable energy generation as a prescriptive requirement.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a determination declaring that ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2022, Energy Standard for Sites and Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, will improve energy efficiency in code-compliant commercial buildings.

The DOE’s technical analysis determined that buildings meeting 90.1-2022 would result in a national average site energy estimate savings increase from 9.8 percent to 14 percent (net) compared to the previous 2019 edition.

Standard 90.1-2022 is the first to include onsite generation of renewable energy systems as a prescriptive requirement, recognising the role of renewables in new construction, echoing similar requirements in several state and local building codes, and better positioning new commercial buildings to achieve net zero energy in the future. Other significant changes include customisable energy credits, a new mechanical system efficiency performance option, requirements for thermal bridging mitigation, expanded criteria for whole-building air-leakage testing, updated lighting power allowances, and additional guidance for using emissions in addition to traditional site, source, and cost metrics.

“With the intensified demand for decreased energy consumption and carbon reductions in existing buildings, Standard 90.1 continues to offer essential guidance in shaping building regulations and amplified energy legislation,” said 2023-23 ASHRAE President Ginger Scoggins, P.E., Fellow ASHRAE. “The DOE’s latest determination further solidifies Standard 90.1 as the cornerstone for achieving energy efficiency goals and ultimately moves us closer towards widescale, global building decarbonisation of the built environment.”

States must certify, within two years of DOE’s affirmative conclusion that the energy efficiency provisions of their commercial building codes have been reviewed and, if necessary, revised to meet or exceed the latest edition of Standard 90.1. The following are the DOE’s estimates of national savings in commercial buildings. Site energy savings of 9.8 percent and source energy savings of 9.4 percent, 9.3 percent reduction in carbon emissions.

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