Industry Stands to Benefit from New DOE Determination
November 28, 2011

By Sahely Mukerji,

With the Department of Energy's (DOE) recent determination that the adoption of ASHRAE 90.1-2010 would reduce energy use by 18.5 percent compared to the 2007 version of the code, the market for high-performance glazing and framing systems looks ready to jump up.

"From the fenestration perspective, the most significant revisions are new toplighting requirements that will require a minimum amount of skylight area in large open spaces (like big box retail and warehouses), recognition for dynamic glazing and tighter air leakage requirements," says Thomas D. Culp, president of Birch Point Consulting LLC in La Crosse, Wis. "The toplighting requirement will save a lot of energy for the country and is also good for our industry. There is also a new fenestration orientation requirement that there must be more glazing area on the south side of the building than on the west or east, if you use the prescriptive path. This does not include an update of the prescriptive U and SHGC criteria, which were not completed in time for 2010 standard because of the appeal over the 40 percent window-to-wall ratio, but will be in the next version."

On November 21, DOE officials announced that analysis shows that implementing the 2010 version of Standard 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings, Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, will save commercial building owners energy and money, help them meet their sustainability goals and reduce carbon pollution.

"The DOE findings are aligned with the current glass and glazing industry trends of working towards more high-performance, energy-efficient products," says Urmilla Jokhu-Sowell, technical director of Glass Association of North America in Topeka, Kan. "The 2010 version of ASHRAE 90.1 incorporates the use of high-performance glass and glazing products and dynamic glazing, and also encourages proper daylighting design."

When DOE issues a final determination, states are expected to review the new code provisions and update their building code to meet or exceed the energy efficiency of the new standard within two years.

The 2010 version of the Standard 90.1 is a "significant improvement over the 2007 standard, and with each revision cycle we would continue to see significant improvement in the energy standards as the goal is to reach towards net-zero energy buildings," says Sneh Kumar, manager of DOE Projects at Traco in Cranberry Township, Pa. "Adaptation of ASHRAE 90.1-2010 would further expand the market share of highly-insulating glazing and high-performance framing systems. Manufacturers would have to continue improving their products to keep up with code and be able to meet green building standards like ASHRAE189.1, International Green Construction Code [and] Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design."

Read the full DOE notice here.

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