Proposed Energy Standard For Data Centers

posted Mar 9, 2015, 7:16 AM by Northern Indiana ASHRAE ASHRAE   [ updated Mar 9, 2015, 7:16 AM ]

Proposed Energy Standard For Data Centers, Telecommunications Buildings Open For Public Comment

ATLANTA - A proposed standard from ASHRAE providing requirements for energy use in data centers is open for public input.

ASHRAE Standard 90.4P, Energy Standard for Data Centers and Telecommunications Buildings, is open for its first public review until March 30, 2015. To read the draft standard and to submit comments, visit

The standard would establish the minimum energy efficiency requirements of data centers and telecommunications buildings for design and construction and for creation of a plan for operation and maintenance, and for utilization of on-site or off-site renewable energy resources.

“The proposed standard is intended to work in concert with ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1,Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings,” Ron Jarnagin, chair of the Standard 90.4 committee said. “There is no intent to duplicate what is contained in Standard 90.1, but rather we are proposing criteria to support the specialized nature of the larger data centers. When adopted, design and construction of data centers will require the use of both Standards 90.1 and 90.4 for compliance with building codes.”

David Quirk, chair of ASHRAE’s Technical Committee 9.9, Mission Critical Facilities, Technology Spaces and Electronic Equipment, noted that the intent of Standard 90.4P is to create a performance based approach that would be more flexible and accommodating of innovative change, which can occur rapidly in data center design, construction and operation.

Data center applications are unlike their commercial building counterparts in two significant ways, he noted. First, they include significantly higher plug loads. And second, they employ rapidly changing technology for the IT equipment and associated power/cooling approaches.

“It has been acknowledged that these differences drive a fundamentally different approach to regulating minimum efficiency requirements for the electrical and mechanical systems that support the plug loads,” Quirk said. “By using an approach that requires compliance to a ‘system’ level of performance, designers and end-users can utilize various trade-offs in their optimization strategizes depending on their company specific business models.”

There was also a recognition that current industry modeling tools do not possess all the necessary mathematical models to accurately and appropriately model data center HVAC and power design. As a result, demonstrating compliance to the 90.1 Chapter 11 or energy cost budget (ECB) approaches was deemed impractical, according to Jarnagin.

This standard is based on the principles of power use effectiveness (PUE), as defined by The Green Grid. However, because PUE is an operational measurement metric, and this is a design standard, PUE terminology is not a technically accurate usage. The committee recognizes that language needs to be developed to relate the calculations of energy efficiency set forth in this standard to a total efficiency number, as well as to allow tradeoffs between electrical and mechanical elements. Suggestions from reviewers as to how best to accomplish this are welcome, he said.

Jarnagin said the two committees are aware of some potential conflicts between the definitions of computer rooms and data centers in the standards. The intent is to address those conflicts once Standard 90.4 is approved and published.

The proposed standard applies to new data centers and telecommunications buildings or portions thereof and their systems, new additions to data centers and telecommunications buildings or portions thereof and their systems, and modifications to systems and equipment in existing data centers and telecommunications buildings or portions thereof.

DOE Updates Reference Standard

posted Oct 13, 2014, 12:00 PM by Northern Indiana ASHRAE ASHRAE

DOE Updates National Reference Standard For Commercial Buildings To 90.1-2013

ATLANTA - Following preliminary analysis that ASHRAE/IES's 2013 energy efficiency standard contains energy savings over the 2010 standard - 8.5 percent source energy savings and 7.6 site energy savings - the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a ruling that establishes the 2013 standard as the commercial building reference standard for state building energy codes.

In an announcement in the Sept. 26, 2014 edition of "The Federal Register," DOE attributes the greater energy savings to improvements in ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2013, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings,related to several areas, including better lighting, fans, commercial refrigeration, boilers and controls.

The determination means that states are required to update their codes to meet or exceed the 2013 standard within two years. Currently, states must meet or exceed the 2010 standard, which serves as the commercial building reference standard for state building energy codes under the federal Energy Conservation and Production Act.

"ASHRAE is pleased with this ruling from the DOE, recognizing the energy savings measures in the standard," ASHRAE President Tom Phoenix said. "Standard 90.1 was an original cornerstone in our efforts to improve building performance, and we continue to strive to increase its efficiency in the future."

Among the eight addenda that are identified as having a major positive impact on energy efficiency, IES notes that three are attributed to lighting changes according to Rita Harrold, IES director of technology.  These address control requirements for lighting alterations, additional controls for more spaces with a shortened time to lighting reduction or shutoff, and a decrease in lighting power density in most building types to reflect changes in revisions to illuminance recommendations in the IES Lighting Handbook, 10th edition.

The DOE noted that the 2013 standard contains 52 positive impacts on energy efficiency that were incorporated into the analysis. These impacts included changes made through the public review process in which users of the standard comment and offer guidance on proposed requirements. Specifically the major positive impacts include:

Control requirements for lighting alternations
New requirements for individual fans
Reduction of energy usage for large boilers
Reduction of fan energy usage
New efficiency requirements for commercial refrigeration
More controls in more spaces and reduction of time to reduction or shut off of those controls
Reduction of lighting power density in most building types

ASHRAE: Best Professional Association

posted Oct 13, 2014, 11:57 AM by Northern Indiana ASHRAE ASHRAE

ASHRAE Selected As 2014 Best Of Building Award Recipient By USGBC Members

ATLANTA – ASHRAE is pleased to announce today that it received the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Best of Building award for Best Professional Association.

“ASHRAE is proud to be recognized as the Best Professional Association in the Best of Building Awards,” Tom Phoenix, ASHRAE president, said. “ASHRAE strives to set an example for the industry in sustainability through efforts such as increasing the stringency of its standards, developing guidance that will lead to high performing buildings and offering resources to professionals in the building industry to keep them up to speed with the latest sustainable technology. We look forward to building on our foundation as future industry issues come to the forefront.”

The Best of Building Awards celebrates the year’s best products, projects, organizations and individuals making an impact in green building. Nominees and winners were selected exclusively by the members of USGBC, a vibrant and diverse community of nearly 13,000 of the world’s leading organizations invested in sustainability.

“USGBC’s membership represents a diverse community of leaders that have made significant contributions to the advancement of green building,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, chief operating officer, USGBC. “We congratulate ASHRAE as these peer-chosen awards reflect new and innovative achievements that are to be commended.”

There are 30, peer-selected awardees selected for 48 individual categories in the competition. Awardees were selected based on their region, size and area of specialization and are designed to showcase the most progressive, innovative organizations in the fields of green architecture, landscape, engineering, interior design and manufacturing. A full list of winners can be viewed at

NCEES Changes Education Initiative

posted Sep 4, 2014, 6:20 AM by Northern Indiana ASHRAE ASHRAE

ASHRAE Supports Change to NCEES Education Initiative

ATLANTA – A move by United States engineering and surveying licensing boards to remove a requirement for an additional 30 credit hours for obtaining licensure as a Professional Engineer is met with approval by ASHRAE.

In 2006, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) approved language in its model law requiring the additional 30 hours – roughly the equivalent of a master’s degree – to obtain a P.E. license. The requirement was slated to take effect in 2020.

At its 2014 annual meeting held Aug. 20-23, NCEES voted to modify that approach, and instead develop an official NCEES position statement that supports additional engineering education beyond a bachelor’s degree.

The move was applauded by ASHRAE and other industry associations who had opposed the effort over the last eight years.

“ASHRAE supports this move by the NCEES,” ASHRAE President Tom Phoenix, P.E., Fellow ASHRAE, BEMP, BEAP, said. “We saw this as a hurdle to becoming an engineer when engineers are already in short supply. We felt that committing an additional year to obtain 30 credit hours would be a very significant deterrent for many engineers who might otherwise pursue an engineering degree. The current system of examinations and supervision in practice are workable, effective and adaptable resulting in highly competent professional engineers.”

 Under the change from NCEES, beginning in 2020, the group’s model law and model rules will continue to require an engineering bachelor’s degree from an EAC/ABET-accredited program to fulfill the education requirement for engineering licensure.

“ASHRAE will continue to develop educational programs that ensure its members remain at the forefront of engineering practice and technologies,” Phoenix said.

ASHRAE Joins Forces with Engineering for Change

posted Oct 3, 2012, 10:58 AM by Louis van Belle

ASHRAE Brings Technology, People Power in Support of Engineering for Change

ATLANTA – ASHRAE has joined forces with an international engineering program to encourage its members to use their knowledge and technology to meet humanitarian challenges across the globe.

ASHRAE is now a network supporter of Engineering for Change (E4C). E4C is a growing community of engineers, technology professionals, designers, scientists, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local community advocates who are working together to design, apply and share innovative and sustainable technical solutions to a broad range of humanitarian challenges in local communities around the world. 

“By partnering with Engineering for Change, our members can contribute their knowledge and our technology to help improve the quality of life for people around the world,” ASHRAE President Tom Watson said.  “Our involvement allows us to match the technology to the need, to find affordable solutions that benefit communities and ourselves.”

“We are delighted to welcome ASHRAE to the E4C coalition,” Noha El-Ghobashy, president of Engineering for Change, said. “ASHRAE’s longstanding commitment to the promotion of engineering excellence in the service of sustainability and humanity makes it a natural ally for the work of the E4C coalition.  We look forward to working together with ASHRAE and its distinguished membership for years to come.”

The initiative is part of Watson’s presidential theme Broadening ASHRAE’s Horizons, which emphasizes the role of ASHRAE members as leaders in the application of sustainable design and practices in our communities worldwide.

Under E4C (, ASHRAE members can get involved with existing projects or start new ones. Watson noted that there is a wide range of projects – from refrigeration to hospitals to indoor air quality – to which members could contribute their technical expertise.

Watson also is encouraging ASHRAE members and chapters to examine ways to get more involved in their local communities. Another effort underway is ASHRAE’s Community Sustainability Project program (, which is designed to encourage members to volunteer with local non-profits or other associations for activities such as engineering and installation of energy efficiency measures for their facilities. 

Data Center Energy Efficiency Guidance

posted Oct 2, 2012, 10:07 AM by Louis van Belle

ASHRAE Releases Third Edition of Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments

ATLANTA – Four new data center classes that can enable fulltime economizers for a number of applications in many climates are contained in the latest edition of the principal book in the ASHRAE Datacom Series of publications.

Since its first edition in 2004, ASHRAE’s Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments, published by ASHRAE’s Technical Committee (TC) 9.9, Mission Critical Facilities, Technology Spaces and Electronic Equipment, has become the de-facto reference material for unbiased and vendor-neutral information on the design and operational parameters for the entire datacom (data centers and telecommunications) industry.

Based on the latest information from major IT equipment manufacturers, which are an integral part of the committee, it has never been easier to obtain the most meaningful data to guide data center designers and operations staff to design and run their facilities in the most energy efficient manner possible, including how to operate in a  completely “chilllerless” environment. Further, the guidance enables a more energy efficient operation without compromising the reliability or “mission” of the data center.

“This third edition creates more opportunities to reduce energy and water consumption but it is important to provide this information in a manner that empowers the ultimate decision makers with regards to their overall strategy and approach,” Don Beaty, chair of the Publications Subcommittee of TC 9.9, said. “The idea is to provide objective data, methodology and guidance, but at the same time, respect the right of the data center designers, owners and operators to optimize the operating environment of their data center based on the criteria most important to their business needs.”

Highlights in this third edition include new air and liquid equipment classes and expanded thermal envelopes for facilities that are willing to explore the tradeoffs associated with the additional energy saving of the cooling system through increased economizer usage and what that means in terms of the impact to IT equipment attributes such as reliability, internal energy, cost, performance, contamination, etc.

“The most valuable update to this edition is the inclusion of IT equipment failure rate estimates based on inlet air temperature,” Beaty said. “These server failure rates are the result of the major IT original equipment manufacturers (OEM) evaluating field data, such as warranty returns, as well as component reliability data.  This data will allow data center operators to weigh the potential reliability consequences of operating in various environmental conditions vs. the cost and energy consequences.”

The book is part of the ASHRAE Datacom Series, developed to provide a more comprehensive treatment of datacom cooling and related subjects. Other books in the series are Green Tips for Data Centers,  Particulate and Gaseous Contamination in Datacom EnvironmentsHigh Density Data Centers – Case Studies and Best PracticesDesign Considerations for Datacom Equipment CentersBest Practices for Datacom Facility Energy Efficiency,  Datacom Power Trends and Cooling ApplicationsReal-Time Energy Consumption Measurements in Data Centers,  Liquid Cooling Guidelines for Datacom Equipment Centers and Structural and Vibration Guidelines for Datacom Equipment Centers.

The cost of Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments, Third Edition, is $54 ($46, ASHRAE members). To order, contact ASHRAE Customer Contact Center at 1-800-527-4723 (United States and Canada) or 404-636-8400 (worldwide), fax 404-321-5478, or visit

2012 Design Competition Winners

posted Oct 1, 2012, 6:03 AM by Louis van Belle

Students Read Up on Their Practical Design Knowledge to Win ASHRAE Design Competition

ATLANTA—ASHRAE’s 2012 Student Design Competition had participants staying up late and doing their research of HVAC&R system selection and design calculations as well as integrated building design to encourage practical design.

This year’s competition featured a mock design of the newly constructed Joe and Rika Mansueto Library located in Chicago, Ill. The library consists of a glass dome covering 15,000 square feet of usable area on the ground floor, half of which is dedicated to a reading area and half to a preservation laboratory. The lower level of the building consists of a large warehouse for archived publications and materials.

Among the entries from around the world, three were awarded first place in the three categories that the competition offers. 

First place in HVAC System Design Calculations is awarded to John Bisacquino, Josh Dennis and Travis Westover of Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa. Their faculty advisor is Steven Ridenour, Ph.D., P.E.

The team chose a ground source heat pump system to generate hot and chilled water for the entire building. In order to eliminate the necessity of a cooling tower, a ground source water loop rejects heat to the earth in the cooling mode and absorbs heat in the heating mode. Ground source heat pumps have a lower operating and maintenance coast and analysis showed any additional cost of installation would be covered in as little as 10 years.

For the interior rooms on the ground floor, packaged water to air heat pumps were specified, which can be incorporated in spaces with smaller heating and cooling load requirements. For the larger areas of the ground floor (grand reading room, etc.), air handling units with water to water heat pumps will be installed to meet the larger capacities required for heating and cooling. Water to water heat pumps generate hot and chilled water, while the air handling unit filters and supplies the conditioned air to the space.

In order to maintain strict temperature and humidity levels in the basement storage area, a constant air volume with system will be installed. Due to the high volume of books being stored in the basement, the air must circulate continuously to maintain the target temperature and humidity
levels specified by the owner. Since strict humidity levels are desired, a desiccant dehumidifying system was designed. 

First place in HVAC System Selection is awarded to Alaina Booth, Adam Buck, Jami Harper, John May and Patrick MacBride of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska. Their faculty advisor is Joe Hazel, P.E., ASHRAE-Certified Healthcare Facility Design Professional.

After analyzing three system designs for the library, the team selected a ground coupled heat exchanger (GCHE) to serve a modular packaged heat recovery chiller system with variable air volume air handling units for the upper level of the library, and constant air volume air handling units for the periphery of the upper level and the lower level archive area.

The GCHE consists of a geothermal loopfield that transfers heat as needed for the primary system; the loops converge at the packaged heat recovery chiller to transfer energy to and from the field to the building systems. The air handling units for the upper level serve both terminal boxes in office areas, and a displacement ventilation system in the open areas of the library.  The constant volume air handling unit serving the archive area includes a dual energy recovery unit to tightly control humidity.  In order to better serve the high ceiling space, two air circulation units are placed at either end of the archive area so that stratification cannot occur.

The selected system shows a 73 percent improvement in energy efficiency compared to the ASHRAE Standard 90.1 baseline building model and is projected to reduce operating costs approximately $1.35 million over 20 years.

First place in Integrated Sustainable Building Design is awarded to Dustin Altschul, Prathamesh Chakradeo, Ravik Chandra, Saikrishna Ganesan, Timothy Hertel, Varun Krishnan and Charles Stratton of the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.  Their advisor is Raj M. Manglik, Ph.D.

To meet the electrical demand of the building, the students decided that photovoltaic glass would be used on the dome of the library. Daylighting also played a large role in the students’ design, and window glazing was selected to offer a balance between solar heat gain and visible transmittance.  

Due to the specific humidity requirements of the archives of the library, the team determined that two individual air distribution systems were necessary, which ultimately allowed for more control and energy operating costs savings. Geothermal heating was selected as the central heating system, which requires little maintenance and has a low operating cost. 

Additionally, exterior insulated concrete walls, which allow for no air infiltration, minimize noise and the transference of heat and cold and a switch to dual flush toilets, along with rainwater harvesting, will reduce water consumption by 22 percent.

The competition recognizes outstanding student design projects, encourages undergraduate students to become involved in the profession, promotes teamwork and allows students to apply their knowledge of practical design.

The projects are shared at the 2013 Winter Conference in Dallas, Texas Jan. 26-30.

Additional Combustion Safety Testing Proposed

posted Sep 25, 2012, 11:55 AM by Louis van Belle

Additional Combustion Safety Testing Options Proposed for ASHRAE Residential IAQ Standard 

ATLANTA – Additional methods to demonstrate combustion safety – an area of major concern for homes in weatherization programs – are being proposed for ASHRAE’s residential indoor air quality standard.

ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.2-2010, Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential Buildings, defines the roles of and minimum requirements for mechanical and natural ventilation systems and the building envelope intended to provide acceptable indoor air quality in low-rise residential buildings.

Three proposed addenda to Standard 62.2-2010 currently are open for public review. For more information, visit 

Standard 62.2 currently has limits on exhaust that are based on specific assumptions about the house, specifically that the house is fairly tight. Proposed addendum w would provide professionals working in existing homes additional methods to demonstrate combustion safety, according to Paul Francisco, vice chair the Standard 62.2 committee.  This addendum allows users to consider the attributes of the actual house when assessing combustion safety to determine whether there are conditions for sufficient depressurization to cause spillage of backdrafting of a combustion appliance. This is typically an issue for atmospherically-vented appliances, usually caused by some combination of excessive exhaust, duct leakage and door closures that cause pressure imbalances.  

“Combustion safety is a major issue for weatherization programs that are using Standard 62.2,” Francisco said. “The majority of homes in those programs are leakier than the assumed leakage in the current 62.2 exhaust flow limit, even after retrofit. The current limit in 62.2 can prescriptively preclude them from using an exhaust option even though from a performance standpoint there would not be a problem.”

A secondary impact is that addendum w makes it clear that existing combustion appliances do not need to be brought up to current code as a minimum requirement of 62.2, while reinforcing that any new installations must be to code.

“The issue of bringing appliances up to code is also an issue for weatherization programs,” Francisco said. “There are many appliances installed that operate satisfactorily despite not being installed to the latest code.  With the limited budgets of retrofit programs, as well as rules in some programs prohibiting spending these limited dollars bringing existing appliances up to code unless there is a demonstrated active concern, making it clear that it is a not a mandatory requirement of 62.2 makes it easier for these programs to fully adopt 62.2 while still delivering a final result that is safe for the residents.”

One other addendum is open for public review from Sept. 14 until Oct. 14, 2012. The Standard 62.2 committee received comments from users of the standard, especially on addendum n, who did not understand which height was to be used when calculating the Normalized Leakage. Proposed addendum v would clarify the intent of the standard on how to calculate the building height.

Also open for public review from Sept. 14 until Oct. 29 is addendum u, which simplifies compliance with the intermittent ventilation requirements of Section 4.5 if the duty cycle is three hours or less. Under the current wording, designers of intermittent systems had to calculate a ventilation effectiveness factor even if operating the system 90 percent of the time with a duty cycle of one hour. This proposed addendum returns to the three hour maximum duty cycle from earlier editions of 62.2 before the ventilation effectiveness factor must be reduced below 1.0. This will simplify compliance for 80 percent of the users of 62.2. It also addresses the use of two or more fans to provide the required ventilation rate.

For more information, visit

IU South Bend Offers Sustainability Course

posted Sep 11, 2012, 9:08 AM by Louis van Belle

The Promise of Sustainability: Innovate and Prosper
A 4-week course presented by:
IU South Bend Center for a Sustainable Future & IUSB's Center for Professional Development and Lifelong Learning

In this course, participants will learn how integrating sustainability practices can spark innovation and increase prosperity. By examining the system conditions and the scientific foundations of sustainability, as well as case studies, practical applications for sustainability will be discovered.

Developing a sustainable path, while requiring a customized approach, can yield a variety of benefits, including:

  • New Market Potential
  • Competitive Differentiation
  • Platform for Innovation
  • Improved Public and Community Relations
  • Reduced Energy Bills and Operating Costs
  • Improved Employee Morale
  • Increased Productivity and Reduced Employee Absenteeism
  • Risk Avoidance (law suits, new environmental regulation and taxes, and market shifts)
Instructors: Krista Bailey and Mike Keen
4 Thurs., Oct. 4-Oct. 25; 6-8 p.m.
8 hours; 0.8 CEU

register online] 

COMNET Launches Energy Modeling Portal

posted Sep 7, 2012, 9:18 AM by Northern Indiana ASHRAE ASHRAE

COMNET is a quality assurance initiative with a mission to standardize building energy modeling. Managed by the New Buildings Institute with support from the Architectural Energy Corporation, Institute for Market Transformation, and RESNET, COMNET developed a set of energy modeling guidelines and procedures (MGP) that governs this standardization to create consistent baselines relative to various energy codes. COMNET extends and supports existing systems for assessing and rating the energy efficiency of new commercial and multifamily buildings in the United States and offers quality assurance services to green building rating agencies, energy code authorities, utility energy efficiency programs, and other programs that rely on, or require, energy models.

In August, the COMNET team along with its several committees that include ASHRAE, the U.S. Green Building Council, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the California Energy Commission launched its first commercial product, which allows design teams to directly upload their building energy modeling information into LEED Online.

Free to use during its introductory phase, the COMNET Energy Modeling Portal can save substantial time and also offers basic quality assurance features to reduce errors in LEED submittals to GBCI. The portal supports two file types legacy outputs from eQUEST (.sim files) and COMNET XML standard output files. Currently, Trane TRACE™ 700 and EnergySoft’s EnergyPro v5.1 have enabled COMNET XML outputs, and several other software vendors are developing this capacity.

Test the portal here. Download the COMNET Overview and COMNET Energy Modeling Portal fact sheets. For more information, visit

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