ASHRAE is looking for new members to serve on the ASHRAE Project Committee for SSPC 189.1 Standard for the Design of High Performance Green Buildings Except Low Rise Residential Buildings. The deadline to make application for Project Committee membership is March 15, 2017.

Standards produced by ASHRAE are consensus documents developed and published to define minimum values of acceptable performance. Originally, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers when founded in 1894, today simply known as ASHRAE, its voluntary standards are often guides for state and municipal codes and the basis of specifications and rating systems.

It is Project Committee members that are responsible for standards preparation. Project Committee members need not be ASHRAE members, but are ideally technically qualified people in the area of interest. Details about the application process and the application itself are available on the ASHRAE webpage for Standards Forms and Procedures.

And this is a particularly important Project Committee impacting nearly all corners of green building.

ASHRAE Standard 90.1 is important because it provides the minimum requirements for the “energy” design of buildings, but ASHRAE Standard 189.1 provides a “total building sustainability package” to design, build and operate green buildings. From site location to energy use to recycling, this standard sets the foundation for green buildings by addressing site sustainability, water use efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and the building’s impact on the atmosphere, materials and resources. This standard establishes ‘how to build a Green building.’ A read only version of 189.1 is available at this link.

But that does not begin to explain this standard’s importance and huge influence on green building.

Significantly, the U.S. Department of Defense, the largest owner of buildings in North America, that is also the owner or more green building and more LEED certified building than anyone else, uses a variant of ASHRAE 189.1-2009. The Defense Department’s Unified Facilities Criteria system provides planning, design, construction, sustainment, restoration, and modernization criteria for military facilities. Since 2013, the Department of Defense has used UFC 1-200-02 High Performance And Sustainable Building Requirement. That UFC provides minimum standards to achieve high performance and sustainable facilities that comply with federal laws, including EISA 2007 and Executive Order 13423 together with its Guiding Principles For Federal Leadership In High Performance And Sustainable Buildings. And yes, sometimes it pursues LEED certification for these buildings.

Also of import, the most recent ASHRAE 189.1-2014 is published together with the International Green Construction Code such that local jurisdictions adopting the IgCC can make adherence to 189.1 an alternative compliance path when the local enacts the IgCC.

Arguably, both the Department of Defense and local government adoption of a standard to prescribe green building is not what is intended for a standard, which is often the basis of codes and ratings systems, because in and of itself it does not have inspection metrics nor an enforcement mechanism.

ASHRAE 189.1 will be republished in 2017 for adoption in the IgCC 2018. In an environment of green building standards, rating systems, and codes, it is the republishing of ASHRAE 189.1 that may be the single most significant act toward improving the built environment.

This may not be civilization warping, but for those who think the importance of a republished ASHRAE 189.1 is overstated, appreciate that as a result of the unprecedented announcement by the ICC, the AIA, IES, and USGBC in 2014 that 189.1 revisions would be collaboratively developed and be the basis of the IgCC and LEED.  The 2018 version of the IgCC has been characterized by the ICC as being powered by 189.1.

And while most do not expect a new version of LEED anytime soon (if ever), as the USGBC dramatically losses domestic market share, the quarterly updates to this still dominant rating system will in the future be driven by the technical underpinnings of this ASHRAE Project Committee.

So, serving as an ASHRAE Project Committee member on this efforts has far more import than influencing a single industry standard. This is an opportunity to truly “support the goal of development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Consider applying to be considered as members on the ASHRAE Project Committee for 189.1.