Are You Taking Advantage of ASHRAE’s Free Services?

January 20, 2015


Are You Taking Advantage of ASHRAE's Free Services?

From time to time in this space, we share some of the latest in free tools, from Building Industry Reporting and Design for Sustainability (BIRDS) to Smart Grid technology and the Building Energy Quotient (bEQ) program, in hopes of making the professional lives of facilities managers just a little easier.

To date, we’ve only scraped the surface of free tools available. Today’s post features a sampling of the many free resources available via the American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), a global organization dedicated to “advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment.”

Free software

ASHRAE Service Life and Maintenance Cost Database: Evaluating current information about the maintenance costs (by size, region, function and Building Owners and Managers Association class) and performance of HVAC equipment via this database will affect how facilities managers measure the functionality and life cycle of their facilities.

The main features of this database include equipment service life and maintenance cost evaluations and the ability to submit HVAC data.

Back-of-the-Envelope Calculator: This software tool, developed by the Energy Center of Wisconsin, allows users to “interact” with various building components by simulating how changing one variable affects their operations.

Some very cool features include seeing real-time energy connections, calculating carbon dioxide emissions for facilities based on gas and electric power consumption and analyzing the performance of single- and multiple-story buildings.

EPA Power Profiler: This program measures how the use of electricity impacts air emissions, and estimates the annual average of carbon dioxide/megawatt hour (CO2/MWh) in the form of a report.

Free Publications

Advanced Energy Design Guides: ASHRAE and its participating partners have made their series of Advanced Design Energy Guides available for free via a PDF download.

These publications were created to offer recommendations for saving energy over the minimum code requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1, the initial phase aimed at achieving a net zero energy building.

One set of guides demonstrates how to achieve energy savings of 50 percent over standard 90.1-2004 and while the other set shows how to produce a savings of 30 percent over standard 90.1-1999.

These publications offer guidance on saving energy in various structures, including small and large healthcare facilities, public schools and small- to medium-sized office buildings.

Refrigeration Commissioning Guide: This publication, a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Energy and ASHRAE, was developed to provide guidance to facilities managers and owners who oversee refrigeration systems to help them reach energy goals spelled out in project plans and requirements as well as higher profitability.

This guide offers a step-by-step process via commissioning so facilities managers can steer their projects toward lower installation and maintenance costs, higher energy savings and fewer operational headaches.

Earthquake Protection Bulletin: This eight-page guide helps facilities managers avoid problems with plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems due to earthquakes. It can be used in tandem with Standard 171-2008 (Method of Testing Seismic Restraint Devices for HVAC&R Equipment).

If you want to dig deeper into the complete list of freebies, review ASHRAE’s Free Resources page for members, students and everyone.

Look for more suggestions about free tools you can use at your facility by subscribing to our Facebook and Twitter feeds that are frequently updated each week.

For guidance on incorporating new tools at your facility, contact Vanguard Resources.