ASHRAE 189 faces uncertain future

After the disbanding of the committee that developed the proposed standard for designing high-performance green buildings, the fate of the proposal hangs in the air.


In a move that came as a surprise to its partners, ASHRAE, in mid-October, disbanded the committee that has been developing “Proposed Standard 189: Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.”

ASHRAE had been partnering with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES), ASHRAE has been working since 2006. Based on the USGBC’s LEED Rating System, Standard 189-P is designed to be incorporated into building codes; by contrast, LEED is a voluntary system. The first draft available for public comment was released early in 2007, and the committee has been making regular progress (see EBN Vol. 16, No. 6).

Then, on Oct. 14, ASHRAE president William Harrison sent a letter telling members of the SPC 189.1P committee that they were in the process of being “cleared,” inviting those individuals to reapply for membership in a reconstituted committee. Harrison also noted the resignation days earlier of committee chair John Hogan, AIA, P.E., of the Seattle Department of Planning and Development.

While Brendan Owens, vice president for LEED Technical Development at USGBC, and other individuals have asked about ASHRAE’s reasoning, the motivation for the disbandment remains unclear. According to Jeff Littleton, executive vice president for ASHRAE, it is important, in terms of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) process rules, that “we have all materially affected parties at the table.”

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