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This article was published in ASHRAE Journal, August 2013. Copyright 2013 ASHRAE. Posted at www.ashrae.org.

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TECHNICAL FEATURE

Energy Codes & Standards


Partial, Full, Multiple & Total System Performance
BY JOHN HOGAN, P.E., MEMBER ASHRAE

Virtually all energy codes contain multiple compliance options to accommodate a range of users who have a variety of needs and technical knowledge.
Part 1 of this article in the July 2013 issue covered prescriptive vs. performance compliance.
Partial System Performance Compliance Options
The next step up in complexity is the partial system performance compliance option. These options address more
than one component of a building system. However,
they only address portions of one system and only allow
trade-offs within those portions of that building system.
These options are used almost entirely by designers, but
the designers often need the component performance
information provided by the manufacturers.

Building Envelope
A variety of partial system performance compliance
options exist for the building envelope. One type allows
compliance to be shown for the overall building envelope for either the maximum heat loss criteria or for
the maximum heat gain criteria (but not for both). For
example, a UA (U-factor area) trade-off allows the
designer to take the U-factor for each of the building
envelope components (e.g., skylight, opaque roof, window and glazed doors, opaque door, opaque wall, floor,
etc.) multiplied by the area of that component and show
compliance with the maximum heat loss criteria on an
overall building envelope basis. The simpler the tradeoff
system, the less accurate it can be for some systems.
For example, in climates where the outdoor temperature fluctuates above and below the balance point of the
building (where the building requires neither heating

nor cooling during some portion of the day for a significant portion of the year), the UA trade-off method
does not accurately or entirely reflect the performance
of components with thermal mass. Conversely, a more
accurate trade-off system, for instance, one that would
account for fenestration orientation and area as well as
opaque envelope components including thermal mass,
would most likely be more accurate but would require
more user input. The UA trade-off also does not account
for solar gains into a space from fenestration.
The SHGCA trade-off (SHGC component area) is a simplified parallel on the heat gain side, allowing the designer
to take the SHGC for each of the fenestration products
(e.g., windows, skylights, and glazed doors) multiplied by
the area of that product and show compliance with the
maximum heat gain criteria on an overall basis for the
fenestration portion of the building envelope.
The overall thermal transfer value (OTTV), contained
in the earliest versions of ASHRAE/IESNA Standard
90.1, is a more complete parallel on the heat gain side,
as it considers the heat gain through the opaque building envelope components as well as the fenestration
components.
However, all of these compliance options are only
considered to be partial system performance options
because they do not allow trade-offs between maximum heat loss and maximum heat gain. Therefore, it is

ABOUT THE AUTHOR John Hogan, P.E., is a consulting engineer and registered architect in Seattle. He is a member of ASHRAE SSPC 90.1, and worked 30 years for the City of Seattle
developing and implementing energy codes.
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TECHNICAL FEATURE

necessary to show compliance on the heating side, and to


show compliance on the cooling side. There are multiple
reasons for this: heating and cooling might be provided
by equipment with different efficiencies, provided by
different energy sources, offset to varying degrees by the
potential to use outside air for cooling, etc. Also, note
that these options are only partial system performance
options because they do not consider the effects of air
leakage on maximum heat gain and maximum heat loss.
Another option, the Building Envelope Trade-Off
Option (Appendix C) in ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.12010, is more complete in that it includes both the heat
loss and the heat gain and allows trade-offs between the
two. However, the Building Envelope Trade-Off Option
(Appendix C) is still incomplete in that it does not consider the effects of air leakage on maximum heat gain
and maximum heat loss. The challenge of including air
leakage for the overall building in compliance options is
not to be minimized.
It is generally agreed that air leakage through the
overall building envelope is a significant factor in space
heating energy consumption. It is important to owners,
designers, contractors, government agencies and utilities to ensure that heating and cooling loads are met
using the smallest-size heating and cooling equipment
to save on costs and to reduce the peak demand needs
for utility infrastructure. Post-construction performance
testing of the air leakage through the overall building envelope (where feasible and not cost-prohibitive)
is gaining momentum as the preferred way to ensure
the effectiveness of this component. While this option
addresses air leakage of the overall building, it is still
incomplete as it does not consider heat gain and heat
loss through conduction.

Mechanical
A common example of a partial system performance
compliance option is the fan system power limitation.
This requirement sets criteria for the fan system that
allows the designer to take into account many components of the fan system, including fan efficiency, duct
and fitting pressure loss, coil size, thickness, and pressure drop, air velocity, and air filter pressure drop. The
designer shows compliance by calculating the overall
ratio of total fan power to the quantity of air delivered
by the fan system. While this option addresses the fan

energy of the overall building, it is still incomplete as it


does not consider the energy necessary for heating and
cooling.

Service Water Heating


There are no common examples.

Power
An example of a partial system performance compliance option is the maximum voltage drop of the power
distribution system. This requirement sets criteria for
the feeders and branch circuits that allow the designer to
take into account the various components of the power
distribution system. The designer then shows compliance for each feeder conductor and branch circuit conductor. While this option addresses the voltage drop, it is
still incomplete as it does not consider other features of
the power system such as the transformer efficiency.

Lighting
A common example of a partial system performance
compliance option is the maximum lighting power
allowance. The maximum lighting power allowance
enables the designer to take the lighting wattage for all
the areas in the building and then to divide this wattage
by the gross lighted floor area for the building and show
compliance with the maximum lighting power allowance on an overall lighting system basis.
There are several variants of the lighting power allowance: the building area method and the space-by-space
method. The simpler building area method allows the
designer to build up the baseline by using maximum
lighting power allowances for general uses in the building (e.g., office, retail, assembly, warehouse, etc.).
The more complicated space-by-space method requires
the designer to build up the baseline by determining a
maximum lighting power allowance for each space type
in a building (e.g., each enclosed office, each open office,
each corridor, etc.). These compliance options are considered to be only partial system performance options
because they do not include the effects of lighting controls on total energy consumption for lighting.

Other Equipment
An example of a partial system performance compliance option is the ventilation system power limitation
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TECHNICAL FEATURE

for elevator cabs. This requirement allows the designer


to take into account fan and motor efficiency and distribution system pressure drop. While this option
addresses the ventilation system energy of the elevator,
it is still incomplete as it does not consider the energy to
power the overall elevator system.

Full System Performance Compliance Options


A logical possibility would be the full system performance
compliance option for an individual system. However,
there are no common performance options to show
compliance on an individual system basis for the full
building envelope or the full mechanical system or the
full service water heating system or the full power system or the full lighting system or the full system for other
equipment.
For the building envelope, air leakage is the primary
obstacle.
For mechanical systems, the Project Committee for
Standard 90.1 investigated the development of a mechanical system performance compliance option in the 1990s.
The conclusion at that time was that the wide range of
building sizes and shapes (some of which would be workable for packaged rooftop equipment, others not), system
and equipment types (with various types of fans, ducts,
pumps, pipes), and building uses (from simple offices to
complex hospitals and laboratories) made it difficult to
envision an option that was simple enough to be of much
use. Consequently, choices are made based on individual
components with little regard to their interaction and
overall impact on building energy use. In addition, the use
of controls is an important factor, but one that is strongly
dependent on the behavior of the particular occupants
and building managers, which can vary widely even
among spaces with similar uses.
For service water heating, the difficulties are similar,
though to a somewhat lesser degree.
For lighting, the use of controls is an important factor,
but one that is strongly dependent on the behavior of the
particular occupants, which can vary widely even among
spaces with similar uses. Consequently, it is difficult to
have much confidence in the predictability of the outcome with such a compliance option.

addresses more than one building system, but not the


entire energy consumption of the building. The simpler
versions of this option might use regression equations.
Other forms of this option might be based on hourly
energy analysis where the user elects to only model variations in some of the building systems rather than all of
the building systems.

Building Envelope and Mechanical System


While the national energy codes and standards in the
U.S. do not contain this option, there are other international codes that contain multiple system performance
compliance options that specify maximum energy consumption for space heating and/or space cooling. In this
case, the designer has the flexibility to trade between
the building envelope and the mechanical system. For
example, higher mechanical equipment efficiency is
allowed to be used to offset an otherwise noncomplying
building envelope with excessive heat loss and excessive
heat gain from a large window area.

Building Envelope, Mechanical System, and Service Water Heating System


While the national energy codes and standards in the
U.S. do not contain this option, there was a previous version of a state code (the 2009 Washington State Energy
Code) that contained multiple system performance compliance options that specified maximum energy consumption for space heating, space cooling, and service
water heating.

Other Combinations of Systems

There are not any common examples of multiple system performance compliance options for other combinations of the building envelope, mechanical system,
service water heating system, power system, lighting
system, or system for other equipment.
The 2012 International Energy Conservation Code
(IECC) does contain an exception to the building envelope criteria that allows a specified increase in the
maximum fenestration area for designs that include
certain daylighting considerations (e.g., half of the floor
area of the building to be within the daylight zone, and
automatic controls to adjust the lighting in response
to daylight). However, while this allows a trade per se
Multiple System Performance Compliance Options
between the building envelope and lighting, the criteThe next step up in complexity that does exist is the
ria are narrowly specified and are not really a performultiple system performance compliance option. This option mance option.
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Total Building Performance Compliance Options


At the top end of the complexity range are the total
building performance options that include a calculation
encompassing all of the energy consuming systems for
the overall building. The criteria are usually specified in
terms of a calculated total energy consumption or total
energy cost. Within these total building performance
options, there are usually some constraints on assumptions that can be made so that the approach is not
abused. These often involve either a fixed budget or a
custom budget approach. A points system is a simplified
approach where the calculations are done at the time of
development of the energy code or standard. Note that
none of these options involve measuring performance at
the building site, either during construction, or during
occupancy.
Where criteria are specified in terms of total energy
consumption, some conversion factor is necessary to
convert different energy sources (e.g., natural gas, oil,
electricity, etc.) to a common basis for calculating the
total energy consumption. Some energy codes and
standards use a conversion factor for electricity that is
equal to the energy content of the electricity as used in
the building (sometimes called site energy), while other
energy codes and standards use the energy content of
the fuel used to produce the electricity at the generating plant and the transmission losses (sometimes called
source energy).
To avoid the issue of energy conversion, some energy
codes and standards call for compliance to be demonstrated using energy costs. Where criteria are specified
in terms of total energy cost, it is necessary to specify the
assumptions to be made for the energy costs for each of
the different energy sources (e.g., natural gas, oil, electricity, purchased steam, etc.).

Fixed Budget Approach


In what is known as the fixed budget approach, some
energy codes and standards specify performance using a
fixed energy consumption value, such as kWh/m2, for a
particular climate. In this case, to be fair for all projects,
the energy codes and standards must also specify all of
the key calculation assumptions such as hours of operation, internal loads from people and equipment, temperature setpoints for space heating and space cooling,
etc. The downside to this approach is that these fixed
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assumptions necessary for compliance calculations may


not correspond with the proposed building.
For example, the fixed assumptions might specify
that the building operates 60 hours per week, while
the owner may have directed the designer to plan on
a building that would be operated 40 hours per week
or 80 hours per week. This would affect the ratio of
energy consumption for space heating compared to that
for space cooling. The possible outcome is that, if the
designer bases their design decisions on the assumptions in the compliance methodology, they may end up
making decisions that are less-than-optimum for their
project.
Problems ensue if the calculation assumptions are not
specified in full detail. For example, what is the method
for ground-coupled heat transfer, what is the thermostat
throttling range, what are the target illumination levels
for daylighting, what method is used for calculating heat
loss from ducts and piping, etc.

Custom Budget Approach


In what is known as the custom budget approach,
some energy codes and standards specify that the proposed building is to be compared with a baseline reference building that is similar to the proposed building
but that complies with the true prescriptive/
component performance criteria. While the ultimate
comparison may be expressed in kWh/m2, there will not
be a fixed value for all projects. In this case, the baseline
energy performance will vary based on what assumptions are made for the proposed design.
For example, if the proposed building were expected
to be operated 80 hours per week, then the baseline
building would be operated for 80 hours per week. An
advantage to the custom budget approach is that it has
the potential to more-closely match the proposed building (though having the flexibility to choose operating
assumptions does not mean that there is the knowledge or a sound basis to make informed decisions, as
there are speculative projects where the tenants are not
known or the initial tenant that the facility was designed
around may quickly move out and the facility could be
operated much differently by a subsequent tenant). The
disadvantage is that two computer models must be run:
one for the baseline building to determine the custom
budget, and another one for the proposed building.

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TABLE 1 Examples of partial system performance, multiple system performance & total building performance compliance options in energy codes and standards.
SYSTEM
(OPTION TYPE)

EXAMPLE
(MARKET SECTOR SERVED)

CODE OR STANDARD

Building Envelope
Building Envelope Trade-Off Option (Appendix C)
Provides designers with the most flexible of the partial system performance
options.
Addresses both opaque and fenestration.
Allows tradeoffs between building envelope heat loss for space heating and
heat gain for space cooling; however, does not consider the effects of air
leakage on maximum heat gain and maximum heat loss through the building
envelope.
Target UA: Opaque Envelope and Fenestration
Provides designers with flexibility that is a workable simplification on the
space heating load side.
Partial System
Performance

Standard 90.1-2010

2012 Washington State Energy Code

Target SHGC: Fenestration Only - Window, Skylight and Glazed Door


Provides designers with flexibility that is a workable simplification for fenestration only on the space cooling load side.

2012 Washington State Energy Code

OTTV: Opaque Envelope and Fenestration


Provides designers with flexibility that is a workable simplification on the
space cooling load side.

Early Versions of Standard 90.1

Post-Construction Testing of the Air Leakage


Through the Overall Building Envelope
Important to owners, designers, and contractors, government agencies and
utilities to ensure that heating and cooling loads are met with the smallest-size
HVAC equipment so that costs can be saved for building construction and to
reduce the peak demand needs for utility infrastructure.

ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1-2011


2012 Washington State Energy Code

Mechanical System
Partial System
Performance

Fan System Power Limitation


Provides designers with flexibility for the components used in the design of
the fan system.

Standard 90.1-2010, IECC 2012

Service Water Heating System


No Common Examples
Power
Partial System
Performance

Maximum Voltage Drop


Provides designers with flexibility for the components used in the design of
the feeder conductors and branch circuit conductors.

Standard 90.1-2010, IECC 2012

Lighting System

Partial System
Performance

Lighting Power Allowance: Building Area Method


Provides designers with flexibility for installed lighting wattage with less
complexity than the room-by-room method; however, does not consider the
effects of lighting controls.

Standard 90.1-2010, IECC 2012

Lighting Power Allowance: Room-by-Room Method


Provides designers with more flexibility for installed lighting wattage but has
more complexity than the building area method; however, does not consider
the effects of lighting controls.

Standard 90.1-2010

Other Equipment
Partial System
Performance

Ventilation System Power Limitation for Elevator Cabs


Provides designers with flexibility for the components used in the design of
the ventilation system for the elevator cab.

Multiple System
Performance

Space Heating Energy Consumption Budgets


Provides designers with flexibility, allows the consideration of the integration
of the building envelope and space heating system efficiency; however, does
not consider space cooling, service water heating, power, lighting, or other
equipment.

Standard 90.1-2010

Building Envelope PLUS Mechanical System

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International

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Building Envelope PLUS Mechanical PLUS Service Water Heating PLUS Power PLUS Lighting PLUS Other Equipment

Total Building
Performance

Fixed Budgets Using Energy Consumption


Provides designers with greatest flexibility but has the greatest complexity
Allows the consideration of the integration of the building envelope, mechanical, service water heating, power, lighting, or other equipment
Only requires modeling of the proposed building; however, the fixed budget
assumptions will likely not correspond with the proposed building
Requires specification of the conversion factors for different forms of energy

International

Custom Budgets using Energy Consumption


Provides designers with greatest flexibility but has the greatest complexity
Allows the consideration of the integration of the building envelope, mechanical, service water heating, power, lighting, or other equipment
Requires modeling of the baseline building and the proposed building, but the
custom budget assumptions will correspond with the proposed building
Requires specification of the conversion factors for different forms of energy

2012 Washington State Energy Code

Custom Budgets Using Energy Cost


Provides designers with greatest flexibility but has the greatest complexity
Allows the consideration of the integration of the building envelope, mechanical, service water heating, power, lighting, or other equipment
Requires modeling of the baseline building and the proposed building, but the
custom budget assumptions will correspond with the proposed building
Requires specification of the energy costs or utility rates for different forms of
energy, or can allow use of actual utility rates for the specific project

Standard 90.1-2010, IECC 2012

Point System
Provides designers with greatest flexibility but with the least complexity of the
total building performance options
Allows the consideration of the integration of the building envelope, mechanical, service water heating, power, lighting, or other equipment
Requires the code development authority to assign points to various energy
efficiency measures and publish those in the code; however, similar to the
limitations of the fixed budget approach, the assumptions used to generate the
points will likely not correspond with the proposed building.

International

Point System

Conclusions

A points system is a more-simplified version of a total


building performance option. In this option, the developer of the energy code or standard has calculated the
relative energy benefits of a variety of energy-efficiency
measures. Each of these measures is included in the
energy code or standard and is given a certain number
of points. The designer must then show compliance with
the energy code or standard by selecting enough energyefficiency measures to achieve a certain minimum number of points.
The 2012 IECC and several state codes (Oregon and
Washington) have provisions that require a project to
include additional energy-efficiency measures that must
be selected from a limited points system. However, this
is not a total building performance option as the points
only address a portion of the energy-consuming systems
in the building.

Most energy codes and standards contain more than


a simple prescriptive and/or performance compliance option. The permutations in compliance options
serve various players in the energy code arena. These
nuances play important roles in developing support for energy codes and for achieving successful
implementation.
As noted in the previous article, it is essential that
energy codes and standards contain multiple compliance options. Therefore, at a minimum, a performance
target must be converted to true prescriptive and component performance compliance options to be workable
for the range of users.

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Acknowledgments
Thank you to the Energy Foundation for its support in
the documentation of these ideas.