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Codes and Standards


The NEMA High-Performance Buildings Council’s Codes and Standards Review Committee works closely with the NEMA Codes and Standards Committee to ensure that model codes and standards effectively promote high-performance buildings.

Building codes and standards establish minimum energy performance and sustainability requirements for buildings. For building owners looking to achieve high levels of energy performance and sustainability, there are a number of high-performance building codes and standards they can reference:

  •  ASHRAE 90.1: “This standard provides the minimum requirements for the energy-efficient design of most buildings and offers, in detail, the minimum energy-efficient requirements for the design and construction of new buildings and their systems, new portions of buildings and their systems, and new systems and equipment in existing buildings as well as the criteria for determining compliance with these requirements. It is an indispensable reference for engineers and other professionals involved in the design of buildings and building systems.”
  • ASHRAE 189.1: “Standard 189.1 provides a ‘total building sustainability package’ for those who strive to design, build, and operate green buildings. From site location to energy use to recycling, this standard sets the foundation for green buildings by addressing site sustainability, water use efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and the building’s impact on the atmosphere, materials, and resources.”
  • IEC International Energy Conservation Code (IECC): “The 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) encourages efficiency in envelope design, mechanical systems, and lighting systems as well as the use of new materials and techniques.”
  • IEC International Green Construction Code (IgCC): “The IgCC is the first model code that includes sustainability measures for the entire construction project and its site—from design through construction, certificate of occupancy, and beyond. The new code is expected to make buildings more efficient, reduce waste, and have a positive impact on health, safety, and community welfare.”
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED): “LEED is a green building tool that addresses the entire building lifecycle recognizing best-in-class building strategies. At its core, LEED is a program that provides third-party verification of green buildings. Building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Prerequisites and credits differ for each rating system, and teams choose the best fit for the project.”
  • Green Globes: “The Green Globes system is a revolutionary building environmental design and management tool. It delivers an online assessment protocol, rating system, and guidance for green building design, operation, and management. It is interactive, flexible, and affordable, and provides market recognition of a building’s environmental attributes through third-party verification.”
  • ASHRAE Building Energy Quotient (bEQ): “Building Energy Quotient (bEQ) is a building energy labeling program that lets commercial building owners zero in on opportunities to lower building operating cost and make informed decisions to increase value. The bEQ label is actually two labels in one: an In Operation label that rates a building’s energy performance by using actual measured energy use, and an As Designed label that rates the as-built conditions of the building by using modeled energy use under standardized conditions. What makes bEQ unique is the depth of the analysis upon which the rating is based.”
  • ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA 100 Energy Conservation in Existing Buildings: “This standard applies to existing buildings, portions of buildings, and complexes, including the envelope and all energy systems in the building, except process systems.”
  • California Title 24: The California Energy Commission outlines energy efficiency standards for both residential and non-residential buildings via Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations.
  • BSR/ASHRAE/NEMA 201P Facility Smart Grid Information Model: “The purpose of this standard is to define an abstract, object-oriented information model to enable appliances and control systems in homes, buildings, and industrial facilities to manage electrical loads and generation sources in response to communication with a ‘smart’ electrical grid and to communicate information about those electrical loads to utility and other electrical service providers.”