Heads up on ASHRAE 90.1 - 2013 and Its Impact on Commercial HVAC Design!


By Chad Edmondson

ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 - 2010 Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings was good; Standard 90.1-2013 is better.

That’s according to the Department of Energy (DOE), which released a statement last month that Standard 90.1-2013 offers 8.5% source energy savings and 7.6% site energy savings over the 2010 version. That’s enough to warrant another round of changes to commercial building codes.  State governments now officially have until September 26, 2016 to submit certifications for the new code or file for an extension.

How will the new standard impact commercial HVAC systems and design?  The changes will not be so drastic as those contained Standard 90.1 - 2010, but there will be some.  These include:

  • Revised equipment efficiencies for heat pumps, packaged terminal air conditioners (PTACs), single package vertical heat pumps and air conditioners (SPVHP and SPVAC), and evaporative condensers
  • New provisions for commercial refrigeration equipment and improved controls for heat rejection and boiler equipment
  • Improved requirements for expanded use of energy recovery, small-motor efficiencies, and fan power control and credits
  • Improved equipment efficiencies for chillers
  • Clarifications for the use of prescriptive provisions when performing building energy use modeling, and revisions to enhance capturing daylighting when performing modeling calculations

About ASHRAE 90.1

Standard 90.1 - 2013 includes the latest revisions to Standard 90.1 since it was first published (under the name ASHRAE 90) in 1975.  Although the Standard was published nearly 35 years ago, and has evolved over time, the most significant revisions have been made over the last 10 years.

With each new edition of Standard 90.1, the DOE is required to issue a determination as to whether the updated edition will improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings.  Whenever the provisions of ASHRAE Standard 90.1-1989 (or any successor standard) regarding energy efficiency in commercial buildings are revised, the DOE conducts its own analyses to confirm that the revision will improve energy efficiency. If the DOE concurs, then the changes must be implemented into state building code within two years of the determination. 

That said many states still tend to lag behind in their adoption of the updated commercial building energy code.  The U.S. Department of Energy publishes a Current Commercial Building Energy Code Adoption Status, which shows which states have adopted which version of 90.1 thus far.

Keeping You Standard Ready

Most commercial engineers try to design to the latest energy code standards, even if their states have not officially adopted them into building code yet.  Just as JMP has done in the past with previous ASHRAE 90.1 standards, we will develop seminars (and blogs) that explain the details of the 2013 updates as they relate to HVAC systems.

We strongly encourage engineers to become familiar with the standard since ASHRAE and the DOE both agree that it offers substantial savings for building owners and because it will one day be part of your state’s commercial building code.