Process Efficiency

Industrial Approaches Addressing New Energy Code

Energy Code Applicability for Industrial Facilities

Brian McCowan with Gary Epstein and Natalie Hildt for Zondits, November 2, 2013

During the past few years there has been considerable interest in development of more aggressive commercial energy codes. Codes that have been adopted by various states represent slight modifications from ASHRAE/IES 90.1 (1999), or the IECC model energy code. These codes generally contain prescriptive and systematic requirements for building envelope, HVAC systems, and electrical and lighting systems. The new energy codes were originally developed for the commercial sector, but in state adoptions of energy codes industrial facilities are generally directly included and they fall under the jurisdiction of the code. Unfortunately, there are numerous industrial facilities where the energy intensity of the facility can be increased by prescriptively following new code requirements. For example, in highly energy-intensive industrial process facilities that are subject to space cooling, addition of high levels of code-required insulation can dramatically increase air-conditioning energy. Beyond such unexpected problems, the reality of commercial energy codes is that they do not significantly address the energy efficiency of the process equipment that is dominant in a manufacturing facility.

This presentation begins by describing the general requirements of the predominant new energy codes, focusing on the appropriateness of applying code measures originally designed for commercial buildings to industrial spaces. We then discuss other approaches to address the general efficiency of energy use in industry, including: industrial-sector based energy codes; process equipment standards; process system design guidelines; establishment of energy benchmarking protocols; and broad-based energy and sustainable manufacturing efficiency standards. Advantages and limitations of each approach are clearly described. In the end, the overall objective of the presentation is to comment on the applicability of commercial energy codes in the industrial sector, and to begin a discussion on approaches to systematically improve the base level of US industrial energy efficiency.

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