Sequels – More, more, more!
What makes a great movie sequel? Generally, it has to be bigger, faster, and more extreme. It’s taking a movie about street racing to destroying half of Rio de Janeiro, or a movie about a dinosaur theme park on a remote island to a T-rex rampaging through the streets of San Diego. Well, energy codes don’t go to quite that level, but they do contain all the elements that make up a good sequel.
The American Society for Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) publishes standard 90.1, which provides guidelines and requirements for energy efficient design in commercial and industrial buildings. It is updated on a three year cycle, just like any good sequel. Many states and utilities are now adopting (or have recently adopted) the ASHRAE 90.1-2010 guidelines.
The Making of a Mob Boss
One key element of a good sequel is exploring the existing characters, uncovering some new things about them, or building upon what we already know. The same is true with energy codes. The ASHRAE 90.1-2010 updates involve reducing lighting power density (watts per square foot) allowances in various spaces, and encouraging the incorporation of fluorescent and LED fixtures. Similarly, baseline efficiency requirements are higher for many types of heating and cooling equipment, and they include new part-load guidelines to ensure new equipment operates efficiently over the entire range of operation.
Nothing adds to a sequel like throwing some intriguing new characters into the mix, like an old Jedi Muppet or psychopathic clown. With updated energy codes, new equipment is introduced. ASHRAE 90.1-2010 includes efficiency baselines for variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems and daylighting controls, which had never been included previously. Additionally, it includes efficiency guidelines for certain types of chillers operating at non-standard conditions, which is useful for process applications. These guidelines help guide efficient choices, even with new or unusual equipment involved.
Call the Q Branch
Any great sequel incorporates new technologies. Where would James Bond be without his invisible car or laser wrist watch? In 90.1-2010, additional requirements are included for advanced HVAC controls. For example, variable air volume (VAV) systems must have controls that allow the system to reduce the amount of outdoor air down to at least what is required by ASHRAE Standard 62.1. Also, multi-zone systems must incorporate supply temperature reset controls for most climate zones, which adjust the supply temperature based on outdoor air conditions. These controls won’t exactly help escape from SPECTRE, but they will prevent a lot of wasted energy from unnecessary conditioning of air.
Of course, this is a simple list of things included in a great sequel. Many nuances, such as plot, pacing, and cinematography make all the difference. Similarly, ASHRAE 90.1-2010 contains many underlying mechanics too detailed (and tedious) to go over here, but in addition to the main items mentioned above, those details will be the real key to making a commercial or industrial building Oscar-worthy.
 There are little to no T-rexes mentioned in ASHRAE 90.1. I’ve looked.
 This is the ASHRAE guideline for ventilation.