Category: Codes + Standards

Stimulus Package Encourages States to Use Standard 90.1-2007

The stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, focuses on economic stimulus through both tax credits and public-sector spending, with a heavy focus on infrastructure and energy. Here’s an…

The stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, focuses on economic stimulus through both tax credits and public-sector spending, with a heavy focus on infrastructure and energy. Here’s an interesting development I had missed at first glance through it:

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The Department of Energy is offering $16.8 billion to the states for a variety of measures related to production of renewable energy, renewable energy and conservation research, carbon capture and sequestration research, grants for installation of items such as fuel cells and geothermal heat pumps, and other programs.

For a state to qualify to get the money, though, governors are required to work toward implementation of a commercial building energy code at least as stringent as ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007 and to develop a plan for achieving 90% compliance with the code, including provisions for training and enforcement programs. As posted on this blog several weeks ago, DOE recently determined that 90.1-2004 is the new national energy standard starting at the end of 2010. The governor similarly has to implement and enforce a residential energy code at least as stringent as IECC 2009.

It’s an interesting development because 1) a majority of states currently use IECC as a commercial energy code, but IECC 2009 recognizes 90.1-2007 as an alternative compliance standard, and 2) DOE just determined that the 2004 version of 90.1 is the new national energy standard starting at the end of 2010, but is now encouraging states to adopt 2007 before DOE has finished its determination on it.

Here’s an article I wrote for the Lighting Controls Association describing the major lighting changes in ASHRAE 90.1-2007.

Here’s the text from the law:

For an additional amount for `Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’, $14,398,000,000, for necessary expenses, to remain available until September 30, 2010: Provided, That $4,200,000,000 shall be available for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants for implementation of programs authorized under subtitle E of title V of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (42 U.S.C. 17151 et seq.), of which $2,100,000,000 is available through the formula in subtitle E: Provided further, That the remaining $2,100,000,000 shall be awarded on a competitive basis only to competitive grant applicants from States in which the Governor certifies to the Secretary of Energy that the applicable State regulatory authority will implement the integrated resource planning and rate design modifications standards required to be considered under paragraphs (16) and (17) of section 111(d) of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2621(d)(16) and (17)); and the Governor will take all actions within his or her authority to ensure that the State, or the applicable units of local government that have authority to adopt building codes, will implement–

(A) building energy codes for residential buildings that the Secretary determines are likely to meet or exceed the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code;

(B) building energy codes for commercial buildings that the Secretary determines are likely to meet or exceed the ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007; and

(C) a plan for implementing and enforcing the building energy codes described in subparagraphs (A) and (B) that is likely to ensure that at least 90 percent of the new and renovated residential and commercial building space will meet the standards within 8 years after the date of enactment of this Act …

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What’s New for Lighting in IECC 2009?

The Lighting Controls Association has published an article I wrote on the topic of the major lighting changes in the 2009 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) related…

The Lighting Controls Association has published an article I wrote on the topic of the major lighting changes in the 2009 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) related to commercial buildings.

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One of the most controversial changes isn’t directly related to lighting, but it could have a significant impact on lighting design. Previous versions of IECC allowed various construction disciplines—lighting, mechanical, envelope—to be able to comply with either the applicable version of IECC or designated version of ASHRAE 90.1. IECC 2009 changes that, forcing all disciplines to comply with one code. Because IECC does not include the Space by Space Method contained in ASHRAE 90.1, this could affect design flexibility.

Other significant provisions include:

IECC 2009 now addresses daylighting control, albeit gently, as only separate control zoning is required (via separate circuiting) and no specific method of control is mandated. Manual switching, dimming and automatic controls can be used. IECC 2009 contains additional retail power allowances that are significantly lower than 90.1-2007. And the Code addresses exterior lighting power allowances using a system of four Lighting Zones.

Check out descriptions of these changes along with others here.

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What if 80% of the lamps in your house had to be fluorescent?

The residential section of the 2009 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), recently published, has a new Section 404, which covers residential lighting. It’s the first time IECC…

The residential section of the 2009 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), recently published, has a new Section 404, which covers residential lighting.

It’s the first time IECC has covered residential lighting efficiency.

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The entire section reads simply:

“404.1 Lighting equipment (prescriptive). A minimum of 50% of the lamps in permanently installed lighting fixtures shall be high-efficacy lamps.”

In the definitions at the beginning of the code, a “high efficacy lamp” is defined:

“Compact fluorescent lamps, T8 or smaller diameter linear fluorescent lamps, or lamps with a minimum efficacy of: 1) 60 LPW for lamps >40W, 2) 50 LPW for lamps >15W to 40W, and 3) 40 LPW for lamps 15W or less.”

This strangely includes screw-in CFLs in incandescent fixtures, which could theoretically be changed out as soon as the owner moves in. There are several things to worry about with this type of approach, but I’ll leave those aside for now to focus on some big news. The International Code Council (IECC), the organization that creates and maintains the IECC, recently held a meeting and rumor has it they are considering raising this number to 80% for the next version of the code.

CFLs are not universally dimmable and special, more expensive products are needed. Currently, many dimmable CFLs exhibit operating issues on most incandescent dimmers. I put in a dimmable CFL in my house, which is mostly dimming and few CFLs, and it flickered intensely like Dr. Frankenstein’s lab until I dimmed it down to about 40%, when it cut out abruptly and started strobing like a hazard light. Both the dimmer and CFL were from reputable manufacturers with brands you’d recognize at first glance.

Faced with a choice, I kept my dimmer. My energy savings aren’t as big, but I can save 20% (average dimming, according to one study) and I hardly ever change light bulbs because dimming extends incandescent lamp life. My family lives a very “green” lifestyle and we don’t mind being inconvenienced to do so, but we’re not really into compromising the basics. For example, we’re not going to accept bad lighting just as we wouldn’t consider switching to cold showers.

This is why I was so disappointed when GE announced it was stopping work on its high-efficiency incandescent (HEI) project. That leaves the energy-saving version of the Philips Halogena screw-in halogen lamp series as the only incandescent/halogen lamp in compliance with the Energy Independence and Security Act, which begins to become phased into effect in 2012.

GE is shifting its resources to work on LEDs. So has Philips. Incandescents are considered out, and even CFLs are being considered a transitional technology.

I just hope the new LED lamps work on my dimmers. It’s not going to be very green to have everybody rip their dimmers out of their walls and throw them away.

In the meantime, I am hoping ICC will do what lighting designer and code expert Jim Benya encouraged them to do during the public review process for 2009 IECC, which is adopt language similar or identical to California’s Title 24 energy code, which is very simple, effective and flexible.

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IDA and IES Publish Outdoor Model Lighting Ordinance for Public Review

The latest research shows that at least 10% of all outdoor lighting, even fully shielded lighting, ends up creating light pollution, according to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). Many communities…

The latest research shows that at least 10% of all outdoor lighting, even fully shielded lighting, ends up creating light pollution, according to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). Many communities across the U.S. have tried to deal with light pollution or some facet of it–sky glow, light trespass and, more rarely, glare–with a patchwork of thousands of lighting ordinances, many of them written by non-lighting people.

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Three years in the making, a Joint Task Force between the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and IDA have completed a long-awaited Model Lighting Ordinance (MLO), which has been posted as a 26-page PDF document on the IDA website for public review and comment.

“Like many communities who have written their own ordinances, we thought it would be easy and in fact, the MLO has taken much longer than we thought it would,” said Denis Lavoie, Task Force co-chairman. “We worked through some challenging issues related to sky glow and glare in order to have a process that has technical credibility. The result is an ordinance that provides the flexibility for an installation to be judged based on the lighting equipment used or the characteristics of light emitted from a site.”

The MLO offers a single generic outdoor lighting ordinance, written in code language for easy adoption into community codes and bylaws, that can be adapted to any community through the use of five Lighting Zones of differing stringencies, which tailor the MLO to address local needs and preferences. A prescriptive system is included to regulate typical lighting installations using a new rating system called BUG (Backlight-Uplight-Glare), which is designed to prevent excessive lighting and permit easy plan review and field inspection. There is also a computer analysis option for complex lighting installations, which applies the latest research findings with respect to glare, skyglow, and light trespass and restricts designs to appropriate limits of off-site impact.

The MLO is also consistent with the California Title 24 outdoor lighting energy code, the next generation of the IES’ Recommended Practice for Outdoor Environmental Lighting, and the next generation of ASHRAE/IES 90.1 and IECC energy codes. It is being submitted to the US Green Buildings Council (USGBC) to be used for the LEED system Sustainable Sites Light Pollution Reduction Credit.

You don’t have to be a member of IES or IDA to comment on the draft MLO. Please read the MLO and share your ideas. Public review closes Friday, April 10, 2009.

“This MLO will permit all of the lighting recommendations of the IES to be met with currently-available lighting equipment,” said Task Force co-chairman James Benya. “For most situations, designs using well-shielded luminaires and good design practice will have no problem complying.”

“We studied hundreds of lighting ordinances as part of this work,” said Task Force member Naomi Miller. “The MLO is the only ordinance that combines what has been learned from recent glare and skyglow research with the realities of practical application.”

A companion “User’s Guide” to the MLO is also in development for release with the final version of the MLO. IDA is already looking into companion model regulations for city street lighting, signs and other causes of light pollution.

Click here to learn more about the MLO and how to comment on it.

Click here to read the November, 2008 National Geographic Magazine cover story, “Our Vanishing Night” by Verlyn Klinkenborg.

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Lighting Designers Likely to Find 2009 IECC Disappointing

The International Code Council’s (ICC) 2009 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), a model energy code adopted by many states, contains a number of lighting-related provisions that lighting…

The International Code Council’s (ICC) 2009 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), a model energy code adopted by many states, contains a number of lighting-related provisions that lighting designers are likely to find objectionable.

One area of concern is that the 2009 IECC eliminates mixing methodologies from ASHRAE 90.1 as an alternative standard. All projects must show compliance with either 2009 IECC or ASHRAE 90.1-2007 in total. Eliminating the allowance of ASHRAE 90.1 as an autonomously alternative compliance standard removes an important tool when designing lighting in more complex spaces, as ASHRAE, while more complicated, offers greater flexibility.

Another area of concern is retail lighting. The 2009 IECC reduces additional power allowances for display lighting to nominally one-half of the values permitted in ASHRAE 90.1-2007. This will likely have a dramatic impact on retail display lighting.

And yet another is a residential lighting provision that requires at least 50% of the lamps in permanently installed luminaires be high-efficacy lamps, with the compliance threshold set at efficacies (lumens/W) achievable only by screw-in or pin-based fluorescent lamps such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). The loose nature of this language makes it vulnerable to cheats and gaming, and may actually promote the addition of more luminaires than needed. An amendment was offered that allowed halogen other non-compliant light sources as long as they were controlled by occupancy sensors or dimmers, but it was not accepted, and a real energy savings opportunity is therefore not being realized.

I’ll be posting an in-depth comparison of the 2009 IECC with the 2006 IECC soon…

To get a copy of the 2009 IECC, visit the International Code Council’s website.

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DOE Establishes ASHRAE 90.1-2004 as National Energy Standard

ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2004, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, has been established by the Department of Energy as the commercial building reference standard for state building energy codes…

ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2004, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, has been established by the Department of Energy as the commercial building reference standard for state building energy codes starting in 2010.

By December 30, 2010, all states in the United States must certify that their building codes meet or exceed the requirements in ASHRAE/IESNA’s 2004 energy efficiency standard, under a 12/30/08 ruling. If they do not have a code in place at least as stringent as 90.1-2004, they must justify why they can’t comply.

Thirty-seven states complied with the last DOE ruling establishing ASHRAE 90.1-1999 as the national energy standard.

“The quantitative analysis of the energy consumption of buildings built to Standard 90.1-2004, as compared with buildings built to Standard 90.1-1999, indicates national source energy savings of approximately 13.9% of commercial building energy consumption. Site energy savings are estimated to be approximately 11.9%,” according to the ruling published in The Federal Register.

DOE noted that the newer version of the standard contained 13 positive impacts on energy efficiency, several of which are related to lighting:

*Complete replacement of interior lighting power density allowances.
*Revised exterior lighting power density allowances.
*Addition of occupancy sensor requirements for classrooms, meeting and lunch rooms.
*Lower retail sales lighting power allowance.
*New exit sign wattage requirement.

Nearly half of the states (24) currently have an energy code in place at least as stringent as ASHRAE 90.1-2004, meaning 13 states will likely catch up in 2010 and 13 will not comply for various reasons, such as “home rule” state constitutions.

In addition, ASHRAE is working on providing more stringent energy guidance in a proposed standard for high-performance buildings. Being developed in partnership with IESNA and the U.S. Green Building Council, Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, will provide minimum requirements for the design of high-performance new commercial buildings and major renovation projects, addressing energy efficiency, a building’s impact on the atmosphere, sustainable sites, water use efficiency, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.

ASHRAE publishes a revised version of the standard every three years. The latest version is the 2007 version.

I will post a more detailed comparison of the 1999 and 2004 versions of ASHRAE 90.1 soon.

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USGBC Reaffirms Commitment to Developing Green Building Code

The U.S. Green Building Council recently reaffirmed its commitment to the development of Standard 189.1P, which will be America’s first National Standard developed to be used as a green building…

The U.S. Green Building Council recently reaffirmed its commitment to the development of Standard 189.1P, which will be America’s first National Standard developed to be used as a green building code when completed.

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Created specifically for adoption by states, localities, and other building code jurisdictions that are ready to require a minimum level of green building performance for all commercial buildings, Standard 189.1P is being developed as an ANSI standard under ASHRAE’s leadership, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council and IESNA.

Doubts about the future of Standard 189.1P were raised in late October by ASHRAE’s decision to reconstitute the volunteer committee responsible for the development of the green building code. While rebuilding the committee will mean delays, USGBC remains confident in the quality of the final result.

It’s an interesting (and ambitious) move to merge 90.1 and LEED to create a green building standard, which will likely see first use for public construction in the greener states and for commercial buildings in municipalities committed to green construction. Washington, DC, San Francisco and Los Angeles, for example, require most commercial buildings to reach LEED Silver, and in 2008, the State of California authored and adopted a statewide green building code. In terms of lighting, the latest draft of Standard 189.1 that I saw is aggressive and looked like a preview of what is likely to appear in ASHRAE 90.1-2010.

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Lighting and ASHRAE 90.1-2007

In March 2008, TED Magazine, the NAED publication for electrical distributors, published my column summarizing the lighting changes of the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 energy standard. ASHRAE 90.1-2007 did not make power…

In March 2008, TED Magazine, the NAED publication for electrical distributors, published my column summarizing the lighting changes of the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 energy standard.

ASHRAE 90.1-2007 did not make power allowances more stringent, but did include a number of significant refinements.

Click here to read the article.

According to the Building Codes Assistance Project, as of January 2009, no state has yet adopted ASHRAE 90.1-2007 in whole or as the basis for their commercial energy code.

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