We attempted to submit the following Credit Interpretation Request on Friday, December 20, 2002. This webpage was not working at that time. The CIR was sent to USGBC (Attn: Brendan Owens) via fax on that date as per our discussion with Brendan. If there are any problems with considering this request for the December 20, 2002 (3rd Friday) submission deadline please contact Michael Pratt of Keller Engineers at 814-231-2925. Thank you. CREDIT INTERPRETATION REQUEST #1 - DECEMBER 20, 2002 PREREQUISITE 2 MINIMUM ENERGY PERFORMANCE INTRODUCTION: Prerequisite 2 requires compliance with ASHRAE 90.1. Among other items, ASHRAE 90.1 sets standards regarding meeting mandatory human comfort parameters, including ambient temperature. Juniata College does not wish to install air conditioning equipment in their new Biological Field Station building for reasons outlined below. Juniata College is requesting consideration of provision of an exception from the strict, letter-of-the-law interpretation of Prerequisite 2 regarding compliance with ASHRAE 90.1. BACKGROUND: Juniata is an independent college of liberal arts and sciences, located in the Borough of Huntingdon in central Pennsylvania. The 110-acre main campus is supplemented by a 365-acre Environmental Studies Field Station located approximately 40 miles away on nearby Raystown Lake, providing one of the most distinctive opportunities in environmental science in the nation. The existing field station consists of an old homestead for overnight lodging of students, a maintenance building, a boat launch onto the lake, and a variety of outdoor experiment and research areas. The field station is in a very remote area of the Lake Raystown federal reserve, and is accessed by a nearly five mile long unpaved road through undeveloped forested land. Juniata desires to upgrade this field station by constructing a new Multi-purpose/Dining Hall building with associated infrastructure improvements. This expansion project will allow for the conduction of remote class semesters at the field station for approximately 45 resident students. In addition, Juniata desires to pursue certification for the project under the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. PREREQUISITE 2 MINIMUM ENERGY PERFORMANCE: Intent: Establish the minimum level of energy efficiency for the base building and systems. Requirements: Design the building to comply with ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-1999 (without amendments) or the local energy code, whichever is more stringent. Submittals: Provide a LEED Letter Template, signed by a licensed professional engineer or architect, stating that the building complies with ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1-1999 or local energy codes. THE CREDIT INTERPRETATION REQUEST: The Raystown Field Station project consists of the construction of a new Multi-purpose/Dining Hall building to provide a remote classroom for conduction of biological fieldwork. The Multi-purpose/Dining Hall building project is underway, and consists of a new 6,000 SF two floor building that will provide a communal gathering place for meals (normally 40 to 50 residents), classroom space, and a meeting location for special events. The building heating system is comprised of a propane fired high efficiency boiler, with in-floor and baseboard radiators. The building ventilation system is comprised of air handling units sized for 100% outside air for the main dining and classroom areas, and fan coil units with required outdoor air CFM for other rooms. During the design charette process Juniata voiced a consistent opinion that the new field station must be in keeping with the existing remote and primitive setting, and with the College's mission, being the on-site conduction of biological fieldwork. Consequently many typical conveniences and amenities commonly associated with new educational construction were eschewed in favor of a more rusticated approach. The facility will be largely run and maintained by the student body, and therefore while minimal necessities were provided for, they were kept basic and were often associated with learning experience potential. For example, waterless toilets were elected for installation in the Multi-purpose/Dining Hall Building to provide students a learning experience relative to waste load management. Students will assist with maintenance of the future on-site wastewater and water treatment systems. In keeping with this approach, Juniata also does not wish to install air-conditioning equipment in the new Multi-purpose/Dining Hall building, instead favoring an outdoors-oriented facility via open screened windows and doors. Juniata's main campus is only 40 miles away, and they understand full well the weather conditions that can be encountered during central Pennsylvania summers, but they wish to make adjustments for temperature in other ways than via mechanical equipment consuming electrical energy during summer-time months. The proposed building will receive shade from existing tree cover, which was aggressively protected during the design and construction process. Students will have the ability to adjust to weather conditions via dress, which will be geared toward outdoor fieldwork, as opposed to a conventional educational or office atmosphere. Country-cooling will be provided by the nearby lake, and in extreme conditions, window fans may be used. LEED Prerequisite 2 simply states that the project must be designed to comply with ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1. This standard provides minimum energy efficiency requirements for the design and construction of new buildings. The standard does not apply to single-family homes, multi-family homes three stories or fewer, and manufactured homes. Our literal interpretation of ASHRAE 90.1 is that this standard therefore mandates the installation of air conditioning equipment to maintain building temperature within a certain comfort parameter temperature range for a certain duration for our proposed application. Under this literal interpretation there apparently is no concession relative to a desire not to use air conditioning equipment relative to the proposed Multi-purpose/Dining Hall structure. While we have spent some time performing energy modeling for the proposed building, we quickly concluded that we couldn't meet the letter of the law as defined by ASHRAE 90.1 absent air conditioning equipment. It is our opinion that ASHRAE 90.1 is geared to conventional new construction applications, such as office buildings, schools, and hospitals in developed areas and settings. These applications most often result in conventional approach closed building systems, with human comfort parameters maintained by year-round energy consumption in the form of mechanical heating and air conditioning equipment. We would maintain that our project is at the opposite end of this scale relative to its rural setting, the type of proposed occupants, and the rustic nature of its intended use, and is much more akin to a summer camp development than to a standard school or office building. Will the Counsel provide an exception from the strict and literal interpretation of ASHRAE 90.1 pertaining to mandatory installation of air conditioning systems relative to Juniata College's proposed application, enabling Prerequisite 2 to be met?
Compliance with ASHRAE 90.1 does not require the project to install air conditioning, and the project can certainly meet EA prerequisite 2, and conceivably achieve some energy efficiency credits without installing air conditioning. The ASHRAE 90.1 energy modeling protocol requires that projects assume that air conditioning is present in the baseline and proposed buildings for the purposes of modeling energy performance. In other words, under the ASHRAE protocol used by LEED, your project cannot take credit for saving energy over an air conditioning system that was never intended to be installed. To achieve energy performance credits, the project must either assume (for the purposes of energy modeling only) that both the baseline and the proposed project have an identical air conditioning system, or follow the modeling protocol for naturally ventilated buildings to determine appropriate energy savings.
Related Addenda (Corrections & Interpretations)