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New ASHRAE standards means new opportunities

Attention contractors, are you ready for the new ASHRAE standard? It's called Standard 90.1- 2007, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings. The goals of the new standard are to implement energy saving strategies, reduce the carbon footprint, and pave the way for 'Green' Building standards. Once it is widespread and implemented, Standard 90.1 will cause a number of changes in how, what, and where we do business. The opportunity is substantial – start preparing now!

Standard 90.1 will affect building occupants, building managers, and contractors. Benefits to building occupants will be greater comfort, lower utility bills and lower per square foot cost. Pluses to building managers will be decreased comfort complaints, higher occupancy rates due to greater comfort, and reduced risk to Indoor Air Quality problems.

For contractors, the challenge and the opportunity lie in how broad the new standard is. It addresses the entire building envelope, including electrical, lighting, and HVAC/Controls. Because Standard 90.1 combines together multiple standards across different disciplines, you may have to broaden your expertise to fill the sales opportunities it will create.

Here's an overview of what the new standard covers.


A number of new lighting requirements include standards for:

  1. Individual space control of lighting zones,
  2. Mandatory use of occupancy sensors,
  3. Power requirements of emergency lighting,
  4. Maximum timed override of zone lighting.
  5. Astronomical or sensor use for outdoor lighting
  6. Lighting Power density (LPD) watts per square ft.
  7. 'Trading' of power possible between different electrical loads.

New power requirements include maximum voltage drop and contractor provision of documentation, service, and operation/maintenance manuals. Contractors who are ready to install these occupancy sensors and implement these strategies will have an advantage over the competition.

HVAC and control systems are also included in these new requirements. Some of these are:

  1. Some traditional types of economizer control sequences are now banned.
  2. The use of reheat for humidity control is severely restricted. 
  3. Dual setpoint thermostats are mandated.
  4. Control systems with optimum start capability are encouraged.
  5. HVAC system balancing parameters are mandated.
  6. On/off time controls are required
  7. Required equipment efficiency levels are listed
  8. Building zoning requirements are given
  9. Demand control ventilation for IAQ purposes is given
  10. Insulation requirements are listed
  11. Documentation and Operation/Maintenance documentation is required
  12. No simultaneous htg and cooling is permitted
  13. The use of 2 pipe and 3 pipe systems are dramatically reduced and changed.

Note: HVAC mechanical contracting firms who understand these new concepts and opportunities will be able to propose retrofits to existing mechanical systems to ensure compliance with the new standard. Examples would be eliminating existing economizer strategies and implementing demand control ventilation. Also, firms that are able to provide documentation and training services will be at a competitive advantage.

How to prepare

First, familiarize yourself and your personnel with the new standards in detail.

Second, assess your capabilities to meet these new standards. This would include the performance of your staff, the products you represent and use, and your experience in meeting the previous standards.

Third, update your sales and technical staff and start looking for opportunities to meet this standard with the higher level of skill and service it requires. Schedule sales calls with existing clients to introduce the new standard. For clients, it should be more than a regulation – it should be an opportunity for more efficient operations, eventual operational savings, and a safer, healthier environment for their occupants.