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ASHRAE Standard 90.1 is the funding basis for IRA tax credits

Our last post discussed the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and how it provides commercial building owners the opportunity to earn major tax credits if their buildings can exceed ASHRAE 90.1. (Download our "IRA Summary for Commercial Buildings").

Many in the design community may need a refresher course on this often cited “whole building envelope” energy standard. Keep reading below for a brief summary.

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 90.1 provides the minimum requirements for energy-efficient design of most buildings, except low-rise residential buildings. It has been the benchmark for commercial building energy codes in the United States and a key basis for codes and standards around the world for more than 35 years.

In 2019 ASHRAE released an expanded, revised version of the energy standard to provide clearer guidance for exceeding efficiency goals. The new version focuses on energy-saving measures that rewards designs for achieving energy cost levels above the standard minimum.

Significant changes to requirements as they relate to the building envelope include:

  • Combined categories of “nonmetal framed” and “metal framed” products for vertical fenestration
  • Upgraded minimum criteria for SHGC and U-factor across all climate zones
  • Revised air leakage section to clarify compliance
  • Refined exceptions related to vestibules, added new option and associated criteria for using air curtains

Achieving an airtight whole building requires airtight materials and diligent, continuous installation of them over all six sides of the building. In upcoming posts, we’ll discuss our expert advice on how to achieve these goals so that you can qualify for maximum IRA tax incentives and credits.

Schedule a meeting with your Henry Advisor today