ASHRAE/USGBC/IES to develop biomass requirements for green building standard

Committee intends to work on a definition of biomass as well as requirements on the use of biomass

ATLANTA — Biomass requirements are being explored by ASHRAE, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) for inclusion in their green building standard. ASHRAE/IES/USGBC Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High Performance Green Buildings, contains minimum requirements for siting, design, and construction of high-performance green buildings to help reduce building energy and resource consumption. Thus, the standard contains requirements for the use of renewable energy, such as solar, wind, and geothermal.

The Standard 189.1 Committee recently considered a proposal to add biomass to the definition of renewable energy systems, which was submitted by an interested individual from outside the committee. In this context, biomass includes organic material, such as wood and crop waste, that can be burned to generate thermal energy.

At ASHRAE’s 2015 Winter Conference, the committee voted not to accept the proposal to simply add the word biomass to this definition. However, the committee stated that it intended to work on a definition of biomass as well as requirements on the use of biomass to meet the renewable energy requirements of the standard, according to chair Andy Persily.

While the proposal from the committee must first go through the ASHRAE standards development procedures as well as public review, the committee stated that it is committed to developing a technically sound and responsible approach to include biomass as a renewable. Persily noted that the standard currently has no restrictions on the use of biomass as an energy source; however, it does not allow it to be used to meet the renewable energy requirements.

To learn more about actions regarding ASHRAE standards, visit Interested parties can subscribe to a variety of listserves, including one for Standard 189.1, to stay up to date on the latest news.


ASHRAE, press release, 2015-02-16.


Illuminating Engineering Society IES
US Green Building Council


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