DOE Takes First Step in Updating National Reference Standard for Commercial Buildings to 90.1-2013

The DOE is now receiving comments on the preliminary determination. More information can be found at


If the preliminary determination is finalized, then states would be required to update their codes to meet or exceed the 2013 standard. Currently, states must meet or exceed the 2010 standard, which serves as the commercial building reference standard for state building energy codes under the federal Energy Conservation and Production Act. 


The DOE noted that the 2013 standard contains 52 positive impacts on energy efficiency that were incorporated into the analysis. These impacts included changes made through the public review process in which users of the standard comment and offer guidance on proposed requirements. Specifically the major positive impacts include:

Control requirements for lighting alternations

New requirements for individual fans

Reduction of energy usage for large boilers

Reduction of fan energy usage

New efficiency requirements for commercial refrigeration

More controls in more spaces and reduction of time to reduction or shut off of those controls

Reduction of lighting power density in most building types


ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a global society advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment. The Society and its more than 50,000 members worldwide focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability. Through research, standards writing, publishing, certification and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today. More information can be found at

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