The heavy hitter organizations in the building energy sector are working towards incorporating biomass renewable energy in their green building standard.
A joint committee consisting of members of ASHRAE, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) are co-sponsors of Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High Performance Green Buildings.
The standard contains minimum requirements for the siting, design and construction of high-performance green buildings. Currently it covers renewable energy systems such as solar, wind and geothermal, but an individual outside the Standard 189.1 committee has proposed including biomass. Biomass involves burning material such as wood and crop waste to generate thermal energy.
At ASHRAE’s 2015 Winter Conference held recently in Chicago, the 189.1 committee decided that they must first formulate a definition of biomass and study how it will be included. The committee is committed to developing a technically sound and responsible approach.
The standard currently has no restrictions on the use of biomass as an energy source. However, it does not allow it to be used to meet the renewable energy requirements.