When it comes to optimizing the performance, energy efficiency, and environmental sustainability of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, ASHRAE standards play a crucial role. ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) standards serves as a guiding framework for the design, installation, operation, and maintenance of HVAC systems in commercial and industrial buildings. This blog post will explore the significance of ASHRAE standards, their impact on the industry, and how they contribute to creating more comfortable and sustainable indoor environments.
What is ASHRAE?
Having been in operation for over a century, ASHRAE has become a leading authority in the industry, providing valuable resources to HVAC professionals worldwide. Born from a merger in 1959 of The American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHAE) founded in 1894 and The American Society of Refrigerating Engineers (ASRE) founded in 1904, today ASHRAE is a building technology society. It creates and publishes standards used by professionals, governments, and many other industry parties, as well as AC and refrigeration professionals. It also provides additional guidance, including information on the latest procedures for designing, testing, and installation of HVAC hardware.
ASHRAE is also a provider of professional certifications, issuing over 3,000 certifications in 2021. Certificates include the Healthcare Facility Design Professional, which provides “information on incorporating standards and regulatory codes into HVAC system design for healthcare facilities”. ASHRAE also has awards that provide a varying degree of research grants and funding, which members can apply for. Additionally, ASHRAE is a supporter of government initiatives at all levels, including the introduction and amendment of regulations for the industry.
What is the Impact of the ASHRAE Standards?
ASHRAE standards have had a significant impact on the HVAC industry and beyond. By providing clear guidelines and benchmarks, these standards have helped shape the design, construction, and operation of buildings worldwide. Some key impacts of ASHRAE standards include:
- Energy Efficiency: ASHRAE standards have played a crucial role in driving energy efficiency improvements in HVAC systems. By setting minimum efficiency requirements for equipment and providing guidelines for system design and operation, these standards continuously encourage the adoption of improved energy-saving technologies and practices.
- Improved Indoor Air Quality: With a focus on ventilation and IAQ, ASHRAE standards have contributed to healthier indoor environments. By ensuring an adequate supply of fresh air and effective pollutant control, these standards, along with others such as the UL 867 standards, help reduce the risk of occupant health issues and improve overall well-being.
- Environmental Sustainability: ASHRAE standards promote sustainability by emphasizing the efficient use of resources, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and integration of renewable energy sources. By complying with these standards, building professionals can contribute to mitigating climate change and creating a more sustainable future.
ASHRAE Standards for Air Purification Systems
ASHRAE released a paper in 2015 stating their position on filtration and air cleaning technologies. In the paper, the organization recognized the requirement that it should continue to support research in pursuit of standardization of air purification and air filtration systems, with a “focus on performance testing, maintenance procedures, and development of new innovative technologies.”
Today there are no new standards on air filtration and air purification technologies, however, it is understood that ASHRAE are holding committee meetings with the aim of identifying and establishing a new set of standards in relation to air purification and air filtration technologies. In particular, committees are discussing the laboratory testing standards for testing air quality and for testing devices that promise to improve air quality through air purification.
ASHRAE Standards for HVAC Systems
One of the key contributions of ASHRAE is the development and maintenance of industry standards that promote energy efficiency, occupant comfort, and environmental responsibility. HVAC ASHRAE standards cover system design, equipment performance, indoor air quality, and energy conservation. These standards are continuously updated and revised to align with advancements in technology, scientific research, and best practices in the field. The following non-exhaustive list of standards give an idea of the breadth of ASHRAE standards for HVAC systems.
Guideline 11-2021: Field Testing of HVAC Controls Components
ASHRAE Guideline 11 outlines the protocols for conducting on-site tests on specific devices responsible for regulating the functioning of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The field testing of HVAC control components involves validating the physical installation, positioning, and accessibility of different types of control devices utilized in HVAC systems. Certain control devices undergo testing at various levels, ranging from a basic ON/OFF examination to a comprehensive evaluation of performance criteria using computerized methods. The guideline also encompasses the examination of the interplay and sequencing of control devices. The outcomes of these testing procedures ascertain the functionality of the individual device and, ultimately, the overall system.
Guideline 36-2021: High-Performance Sequences of Operation for HVAC Systems
ASHRAE Guideline 36 improves energy efficiency in HVAC systems by providing standardized control sequences. They reduce engineering, programming, and commissioning time, as well as energy consumption. These sequences also enhance indoor air quality (IAQ) and improve communication among specifiers, contractors, and operators by providing a common terminology. Custom sequences are often oversimplified, limiting their potential for energy reduction. The 2021 version of the guideline includes 24 addenda that both expand its scope and also improves existing sections including fixing bugs following feedback from project committee and users.
Standard 62.1-2022: Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality
ASHRAE Standard 62.1 ensures acceptable indoor air quality (IAQ) and minimizes health risks by setting minimum ventilation rates and other measures. It provides guidelines and methods to engineers, design professionals, owners, and authorities who follow model codes. Over time, the standard has evolved to encompass various aspects of building systems including equipment, filtration, and controls. In recognition of this expanded scope and the importance of overall IAQ, the standard’s title has been updated to ‘Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality.’ Standard 62.2-2022 provides additional specifications for ‘Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Residential Buildings’
Standard 55-2020: Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy
ASHRAE Standard 55 addresses thermal comfort in indoor spaces by providing guidance on temperature, humidity, air speed, and other factors that influence human perception of comfort. By incorporating the recommendations of this standard, HVAC designers can create environments that optimize occupant comfort, leading to increased productivity, reduced complaints, and improved overall satisfaction.
ASHRAE standards continue to elevate HVAC efficiency and sustainability
The ASHRAE organization and their standards provide a valuable reference for building owners, designers, and HVAC professionals to optimize system performance, enhance occupant comfort, and reduce environmental impact. Embracing ASHRAE standards, along with other standards set by similar organizations, is an important part of building a more sustainable and resilient future for the HVAC industry.
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