ASHRAE, USGBC and IES Explore Biomass Requirements Development

The development of biomass requirements is being explored by Atlanta-based ASHRAE; the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council; and New York-based Illuminating Engineering Society for inclusion in their co-sponsored green building standard.

ASHRAE/IES/USGBC Standard 189.1, “Standard for the Design of High Performance Green Buildings”, contains minimum requirements for the siting, design and construction of high-performance green buildings in support of reducing building energy, resource consumption and other environmental impacts. To that end, the standard contains requirements for the use of renewable-energy systems, such as solar, wind and geothermal.

The Standard 189.1 Committee recently considered a proposal to add biomass to the definition of renewable-energy systems, which was submitted by an interested individual from outside the committee. In this context, biomass includes organic material, such as wood and crop waste, that can be burned to generate thermal energy.

At ASHRAE’s 2015 Winter Conference held recently, the committee voted not to accept the proposal to simply add the word biomass to this definition. However, in its response to the proposal, the committee stated that it intends to work on a definition of biomass and requirements for the use of biomass to meet the renewable-energy requirements of the standard.

Although the proposal from the committee must first go through the ASHRAE standards development procedures and public review, the committee is committed to developing a technically sound and responsible approach to include biomass as a renewable. Chair Andy Persily notes the standard currently has no restrictions on the use of biomass as an energy source; however, it does not allow biomass to be used to meet the renewable-energy requirements.

Learn more about actions regarding ASHRAE standards. There, ASHRAE provides subscriptions to a variety of listserves, including one for Standard 189.1.

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