March 2006

Volume 15, Number 3

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USGBC, ASHRAE, and IESNA to Develop a Green Building Standard

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As early as 2007, there may be a new minimum standard for green buildings. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) announced in February 2006 that they will cosponsor the development of ASHRAE/USGBC/IESNA Standard 189P: Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.

The three organizations will develop the new standard through AHSRAE’s ANSI-accredited process (American National Standards Institute), creating a standard that could be incorporated into building codes, including other ASHRAE/IESNA standards, such as 90.1 on energy performance. Development of the standard, which will apply to new commercial buildings and major renovation projects, is on the fast track, to be rolled out in 2007.

The new standard is expected to be modeled after USGBC’s LEED® Rating System, including prescriptive measures drawn from all five LEED categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. A committee made up of representatives of the three organizations will develop the standard.

The new standard could have a significant impact on LEED. According to an ASHRAE press release, it is intended that the standard will eventually become a prerequisite under LEED. “This standard will establish a baseline for high-performance green building,” says ASHRAE President Lee Burgett, P.E.

If Standard 189 becomes incorporated into building codes, it could lessen the motivation for building owners to seek the LEED Certified level of certification in areas where it is adopted, since a comparable level of environmental performance would then be mandated. This could enable LEED to drive higher levels of performance through Silver, Gold, and Platinum certifications.

– AW

For more information:


U.S. Green Building Council


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March 1, 2006