Canadian Consulting Engineer

ASHRAE commits to broad building decarbonization

July 12, 2022

The organization calls for a holistic analysis of health, safety, comfort, environmental impact, sustainability, operational security and economics.

ASHRAE decarbonization document

Image courtesy ASHRAE.

In a newly issued position document on building decarbonization, ASHRAE has presented recommendations for achieve reductions in carbon emissions through both the renovation of existing buildings and improvements to new designs.

“Decarbonization encompasses a building’s entire life cycle, including design, construction, operation, occupancy and end of life,” says Farooq Mehboob, ASHRAE’s president for 2022 to 2023. “ASHRAE is leading the charge in accelerating the mitigation of carbon resulting from energy use by providing this road map to further our mission of a healthy and sustainable built environment for all.”

ASHRAE’s overall position calls for the decarbonization of buildings and their systems to be based on a holistic analysis of health, safety, comfort, environmental impact, sustainability, operational security and economics. By 2030, the global built environment must at least halve its 2015 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, such that all new buildings achieve net-zero GHG emissions in operation, widespread energy-efficiency retrofits of existing assets are well underway and the embodied carbon of new construction is reduced by at least 40%.

The society’s additional positions and recommendations include:

  • Considering whole-building life-cycle assessments in future codes to reduce embodied and operational GHG emissions related to buildings and their systems.
  • Increasing stringency and enforcement of energy codes for decarbonization.
  • Considering Building Performance Standards (BPSs) as a policy tool for the decarbonization of existing buildings.
  • Using decarbonization policies to mitigate impacts on disadvantaged communities and less-developed nations.
  • Promoting heat-pump technology research and development (R&D).
  • Supporting the development, updating and adoption of relevant standards and guidelines to facilitate the reduction of GHG emissions from new and existing buildings.
  • Encouraging greater collaboration between and the development of standards and guidelines for the energy, transportation and building sectors to improve secure grid integration, data communication and optimization of energy performance (including its generation, use and storage).
  • Working in partnership with industry to increase the capacity and opportunities for a skilled workforce supporting building decarbonization.

The entire position document can be found at


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