Vice President & COO
PE, ASHRAE Presidential Fellow, LEED AP BD+C, BEAP, MCIBSE
Building a Foundation For Building Decarbonization
ASHRAE Journal, March 2022
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The shift as many public and corporate organizations, countries and states set goals to achieve carbon neutrality within the next 30 years is affecting buildings. Owners are making more concerted efforts to substantially change their buildings, and building design and construction firms are being asked more to provide planning and strategies to reduce or eliminate carbon consumption (decarbonize) within the business cases for owners, said Kent Peterson, P.E., Presidential Member/Fellow ASHRAE. “ASHRAE members and engineers are great at providing solutions to problems once all the issues surrounding the problem are understood,” Peterson said. But some engineers are still building their foundations to understand building decarbonization.
Building decarbonization is fairly new to people, says ASHRAE Treasurer Ginger Scoggins, P.E., Fellow ASHRAE. “In order to move forward with our discussions on decarbonizing buildings,” says Scoggins, “we have to all work on the same definitions to get started,” she said. The sidebar “Defining Decarbonization: Foundational
Terms and Definitions” includes foundational, common terms for engineers. “Buildings and their HVAC&R systems have direct and indirect carbon emissions from energy use, refrigerant emissions and embodied emissions,” Peterson said. Energy-related direct emissions are from on-site combustion of fossil fuels. Energy-related indirect carbon emissions are from carbon released during electricity generation, or during the sourcing, processing and transportation of fuels.”