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ASHRAE moves to net-zero-energy global headquarters

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has moved into its net-zero-energy global headquarters based in Atlanta.

Originally built in 1978, the 6,197m2 building sits on 4.5 hectares of land and is a part of a high-tech commercial estate. Renovations began in January earlier this year.

“ASHRAE’s goal for this project was to renovate a three-story 1970s-era, cheap-energy-period building into a high-performing net-zero-ready facility in a cost-effective way that can be replicated in the built environment industry,” says ASHRAE Technical Advisory Subcommittee Chair Tim McGinn, P.E.

The HQ’s photovoltaic (PV) system is slated to be completed by March 2021, at which time the building will be operating fully at net-zero energy.

“ASHRAE’s new global headquarters is a prime example of how we are helping to pioneer a movement that many expect will ultimately make net-zero energy the ‘new norm’ in sustainable design and construction,” says ASHRAE Building Ad Hoc Committee Chair Ginger Scoggins, P.E. “Although new construction of net-zero energy buildings make a lot of headlines, reuse of existing structures is a basic tenet of sustainability – the energy performance of existing buildings must be addressed to substantially impact the 40 per cent of primary energy consumed by buildings.”

The buildings’ ESD features include:

  • Radiant ceiling panel system
  • Overhead fresh-air-distribution system augmented with reversible ceiling fans
  • Water-source-heat pumps (WSHPs)
  • Demand control ventilation (DCV)
  • Onsite electric vehicle charging stations
  • Rooftop and ground-mounted photovoltaic solar energy system.

The ASHRAE HQ also includes digitally connected solutions such as remote monitoring and analysis of building performance. Other digital systems include online dashboarding for transparency and advanced building automation system (BAS) integration with other systems, such as those for meeting reservations. A digital twin and extensive use of BIM also featured as part of the design process.  

“ASHRAE’s first-of-its-kind headquarters building was designed as a living showcase of what’s possible through technology integration to increase efficiency, protect people and property, and enhance the occupant experience,” says 2020–21 ASHRAE President Charles E. Gulledge III, P.E.

“In addition to supporting ASHRAE’s technical standards, innovative product integrations from our generous donors also provide a scalable and repeatable model for a net-zero energy building design.”

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