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ASHRAE applauds the “National Definition of a Zero Emissions Building”

June 6, 2024  By Ashrae

(National Definition of a Zero Emissions Building)

ASHRAE has issued a statement applauding the U.S. Department of Energy’s release of a standardized, verifiable basis for defining a zero emissions building.

The National Definition of a Zero Emissions Building: Part 1 Operating Emissions is a comprehensive guideline aimed at providing a broadly accepted minimum standard for what constitutes a zero emissions building.

ASHRAE says that by setting clear and measurable criteria, this definition offers a harmonized approach guiding both public and private entities in transitioning the building sector towards zero greenhouse gas emissions.

“ASHRAE is pleased to be recognized and have our referenced standards acknowledged as guiding tools in this significant milestone to combat climate change by decarbonizing the built environment,” said ASHRAE president Ginger Scoggins.


The National Definition of a Zero Emissions Building provides a clear market signal and consistent target, supported by measurable data, to propel the building sector towards a sustainable future.”

To ensure compliance, the definition includes detailed methods of measurement and verification. For existing buildings, criteria such as Energy Star scores or measured whole-building energy use intensity are utilized, while new constructions must meet stringent energy efficiency and clean energy standards.

While part one of the definition focuses on operational emissions, part two will address embodied carbon and refrigerant impacts. These elements are crucial in fully transitioning the building sector to zero emissions.

The National Definition of a Zero Emissions Building will be embedded in nearly every green building certification, adopted by leading investors and utilized in federal programs.

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