AHRAE 90.1-2022 Moves Toward Net Zero Energy Buildings with New Requirements

Glazing requirements remain unchanged in the latest edition of ASHRAE 90.1-2022, Energy Standard for Sites and Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Building. Industry codes consultant Tom Culp discussed the new version and other code changes and updates during the National Glass Association’s winter Glass Conference, January 24-26 in Miramar Beach, Fla.

Among the changes in this ASHRAE 90.1 cycle, Culp said the 2022 edition reflects several positive changes and additions, including a new onsite renewable energy (PV, BIPV) requirement. He said this is the first time that such a requirement has been included at the national level. Thermal bridging is also included as well as additional energy credits requirements for additions such as higher performance fenestration, shading, daylighting and on-site renewable energy. Jurisdictions can also use carbon emissions as an alternative performance metric to energy cost. The code is targeting net zero by 2031.

The first-round draft of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) went out last fall. Culp said the group is moving aggressively with strong steps toward electrification and net zero. They are also adding new topics similar to ASHRAE, such as onsite renewable energy requirements, additional energy credits, thermal bridging, tighter air leakage, and
increased testing.

While the glass industry’s primary focus is on national codes, Culp said there are some local codes of interest. One of those local codes is the 2023 New York Stretch Code. While it is voluntary, Culp explained that New York City adopts the Stretch Code by ordinance as its main energy code. He said this code targets “very aggressive” changes, including a push
for triple glazing or fourth surface low-E.

Culp also discussed building energy code adoption, noting that $1 billion is appropriated to the Department of Energy for state and local government grants to accelerate building energy codes. There is $330 million to assist in adopting the latest energy codes and $670 million to assist in adopting a zero energy code; the latter is based on the voluntary zero energy appendix of the 2021 IECC or equivalent stretch code.

He also touched on some tax credit opportunities, including electrochromic glazing. Hopefully, Culp said, the IRS will rule that the credit applies to the whole window system, not just the glazing. The biggest challenge, however, is that construction must start before January 1, 2025.

Tax credit possibilities are also available for solar PV and BIPV, which have a longer life through 2032.

Two proposals within the Green Codes could increase the use of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). One of the proposals increases the number of EPDs required on a project to at least 20 products and 25% of the total building product cost. It still allows industry-wide EPDs in addition to company-specific ones and does not require facility-specific EPDs. It also allows EPDs for components to be submitted for assemblies if they cover more than 80% of product weight or cost. This means in a curtainwall assembly, an EPD is required for just the glass and framing—not all of the components. The second proposal deals with global warming potential (GWP) limits. Here, at least ten product-specific EPDs must be submitted, representing more than 10-15% of the total building product cost, with GWP within 125% of the industry-wide average. He said this would pressure companies to develop product-specific, company-wide EPDs. Due to the high number of comments on this proposal, he said it’s uncertain whether it will be included in the 2023 edition.

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