ASHRAE is furthering its commitment to reducing GHG emissions by strengthening the building decarbonization components of ASHRAE standards to reach net-zero energy by 2031. ASHRAE’s plan to help accelerate the transition from commitment to action in reducing global built environment GHG emissions can be summarized in these three areas:

1. Updating the 2019 edition of Standard 90.1

Standard 90.1 has been a benchmark for commercial building energy codes in the United States, and a key basis for codes and standards around the world, for almost half a century. This standard provides the minimum requirements for energy-efficient design of most sites and buildings, except low-rise residential buildings. It offers, in detail, the minimum energy efficiency requirements for the design and construction of new sites and buildings and their systems, new portions of buildings and their systems, and new systems and equipment in existing buildings, as well as criteria for determining compliance with these requirements. It is an indispensable reference for engineers and other professionals involved in the design of buildings, sites, and building systems.

The 2022 edition of Standard 90.1 incorporates over 80 addenda to the 2019 edition. Major additions appearing for the first time in a minimum-efficiency U.S. model energy standard or code at the national level include:

  • A minimum prescriptive requirement for on-site renewable energy
  • An optional Mechanical System Performance Path allowing HVAC system efficiency tradeoffs based on the new total system performance ratio (TSPR) metric
  • New requirements to address the impacts of thermal bridging
  • Expanded scope to include sites as well as buildings
  • New energy credit requirements for a customized approach to improving energy efficiency
  • New informative guidance for using carbon emissions, site energy, or source energy as alternative performance metrics to the current energy cost metric
  • Significant efficiency increases in IEER for commercial rooftops and a new SEER2/HSPF2 metric for <65K sized air-cooled heat pumps


2. Creating the Building Performance Standard (BPS)

The newly released Building Performance Standards (BPS): A Technical Resource Guide was created to provide a technical basis for policymakers, building owners, practitioners, and other stakeholders interested in developing and implementing a BPS policy. The first in a series of seven guidebooks by ASHRAE on building decarbonization, this guide focuses on reducing building operating energy use and resulting emissions in existing commercial and multifamily buildings, as established by leading U.S. cities and states. Jointly developed by ASHRAE, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and its national laboratories, the BPS guide is meant to provide the information needed to make informed policy design decisions that drive deeper existing building decarbonization and provide equitable outcomes for all involved.

Highlighted topics covered in the guide include:

  • BPS Metrics and Terminology
  • Performance Targets
  • Major Policy Considerations
  • Analysis Methods for BPS Policy Design

3. Creating the Taskforce for Building Decarbonization webpage (TFBD)

The ASHRAE Task Force For Building Decarbonization (TFBD) webpage includes technical resources, information, videos, and publications to expedite the adoption of climate change mitigation policies and reaffirms the Society’s goals stated in the ASHRAE Vision 2022 Report, approved by ASHRAE’s board of directors, as well as the ASHRAE Position Document on Building Decarbonization, to achieve net zero GHG emissions in operation for all new buildings by 2030.

Additional features of the webpage include:

  • Descriptions of seven new guidebooks focused on building decarbonization
  • A list of related outside decarbonization resources
  • A list of key decarbonization terminology

It is great to see GHG emission reduction becoming a priority in the global built environment. To find out how these changes might impact your buildings, contact us at