The U.S. Department of Energy projects that by the end of 2015, 23 states (many of which are concentrated on the East and West Coast) will adopt the 2012 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in which ASHRAE 90.1-2010 is heavily referenced.  As published in the Federal Register last year, ASHRAE 90.1-2010 will also apply to all federal buildings beginning on July 9, 2014.

ASHRAE Standard 90.1 is the published energy standard providing minimum requirements for energy efficient designs for commercial buildings.  A study commissioned by the US Department of Energy estimates that energy use and energy costs can be reduced by over 18 percent when applying the 2010 version of ASHRAE 90.1 in place of the 2007 version. Various updates to mechanical, electrical, and lighting systems were published within the 2010 Standard which contributes in part to energy savings, compared to the 2007 Standard.  A few of the major changes which impact energy usage are:

  • Lower energy usage allowances for mechanical equipment operating at part load
  • Increased climate zone areas where HVAC system economizers must be utilized
  • Expanded use within climate zones where exhaust air energy recovery is required
  • Automatic receptacle controls required for 50% of the 120V 15 or 20 Amp circuits in Office Spaces and Computer Classrooms
  • Reductions in numerous space lighting power density allowances
  • Increased and expanded day lighting control requirements
  • Continuous building air barrier requirements

Recently, individuals from Southland Engineering and HGA Architects presented on this topic along with LEED Version 4 at a local Mid-Atlantic DBIA regional meeting and will be presenting on it again at the DBIA Federal Project Delivery Symposium in August. All of the speakers felt this was an important topic to present on due to the number of states and jurisdictions that have and will be utilizing this standard in the near future. In order for design professionals to provide accurate guidance and recommendations to building owners and other design team members on project governed by ASHRAE 90.1-2010, they must first achieve a thorough understanding of these changes.



  • Justin Herzing

    Design Engineer

    As a design engineer for Southland Industries, Justin Herzing is responsible for the strategic design of buildings’ HVAC systems and has been involved in the HVAC system commissioning and functional performance testing phases for several projects.  Justin has been invited to speak at both Regional and National events for DBIA regarding recent updates to both ASHRAE 90.1 and the LEED rating system.

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