What is a green building?  If you ask my daughter, I’m sure she would say that if the building is painted green then it is a green building.  And, frankly, it’s hard to argue with that.  However, in the building design world a green building is a building that is energy efficient.  But how do you measure when a building is energy efficient enough to be green? That is where codes and standards come in.

In the past, various organization developed ways to measure energy efficiency.  The most well known may be the LEED system.  This system grants building owners points for various energy efficient measures and then rates that building on their scale (platinum, gold, etc.).  You may have seen LEED plaques in building lobbies saying what level the building earned.  Other organizations publish codes that include minimum requirements for energy efficiency.  An engineer can then compare the building design to the code baseline (a building built with the minimum requirements) and calculate how much more money or energy is saved by the actual building.  This number can be use to then rate the building.  A lot of incentives such as utility rebates use this latter method to calculate energy savings.

Recently, ASHRAE announced that their standard for green buildings, called ASHRAE Standard 189.1, will soon be aligned with the International Code Council’s (ICC) International Green Construction Code (IgCC).  The combination of these codes allows designers to have a way to compare their buildings to a single baseline which simplifies the process for demonstrating energy efficiency.  The compiled code will officially become the 2018 IgCC and coined “IgCC Powered by 189.1.”  The ASHRAE Standard 189.1 committee will continue revising the standard so it can provide technical content for the IgCC, with ICC responsible for the administrative sections and publication.  Once released, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) will be conducting an analysis of the measures from the IgCC and compare them to LEED requirements to see if further alignments are possible.

Forward Engineers specializes in energy efficient design and can can assist you in certifying your new project under green design standards.  If you are seeking to work with an engineering firm that is client-centered and strives to provides services that are on time, on budget and exceed expectations, please contact us. We would love to work with you on your next project!