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When trying to create a national standard for green commercial buildings, sometimes more varied expertise is necessary. That’s why three leading agencies are looking for additional volunteers for input on a new building code.

Because of the diverse nature of sustainable building, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the US Green Building Council and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America are looking for additional volunteers to serve on the committee developing the first US standard for high-performance, green commercial buildings.

“We’re not looking for representation, but for expertise,” said committee chairman Kent W. Peterson, VP and chief engineer of P2 Engineering, Long Beach, CA, who has been named as chairman of the Standard 189.1P committee.

The Proposed Standard 189.1 will provide address energy efficiency, a building’s impact on the atmosphere, sustainable sites, water-use efficiency, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. The standard will apply to new buildings and their systems, new portions of buildings and their systems, and new systems and equipment in existing buildings.

The standard already has been through two public reviews, and received more than 900 comments. But to better address the varied areas covered in the proposed standard, a new committee is being appointed. The interest categories have been expanded to include compliance, designer, general, industry, user and utility to create standards that will more easily be adopted as code by jurisdictions.

ASHRAE issued the call for members on November 14. Because various sectors have very different needs, it was important to have users reflected, Peterson said, and the committee has received applications from retail experts and members of the Building Owners and Management Assoc. Interested parties may apply through December 4, online here.

The final decision on the board’s composition will be made by the standard’s executive committee, consisting of Peterson and three vice chairman. Already, the call has received a strong response, Peterson notes.

“It’s very gratifying to go through and look at the applications,” Peterson said. In fact, the major challenge likely will be to choose between equally qualified candidates. Again, the broadest representation of different areas of technical expertise will be the deciding factor.

Once the committee is constituted and given its input, Standard 189.1P will be sent out for another full public review, allowing all interested parties to review and comment on the third public review draft, likely sometime in the second quarter of next year, Peterson said.

Even after the committee’s input is included and the standard is voted on, the work is not over. Sustainability technology and techniques are constantly evolving, and input will be required long afterward. And standards must be adopted by individual municipalities to be included in their building codes. That’s the point of including extra areas of expertise, Peterson noted.

“This is a code-intended standard,” Peterson said. “This project committee will go into continuous maintenance.”<

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