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Smart Growth

ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1-2014: Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings (ASHRAE 189.1)

Description A model code that contains minimum requirements for increasing the environmental and health performance of buildings' sites and structures. Generally, it applies to the design and construction of all types of buildings except single-family homes, multifamily homes with three or fewer stories, and modular and mobile homes.

Learn more about ASHRAE Standard 189.1. Exit
Standard Type1
  • Model code
  • Mandatory
Building Type(s)
  • Commercial: all
  • Industrial: all
  • Mixed use: all
  • Residential: multifamily with more than three stories
Project Types
  • New construction
  • Additions
Subject Areas
  • Sustainable sites
  • Energy efficiency
  • Water efficiency
  • Materials and resource use
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Construction and operations plans
Community Adoption/Use
  • ASHRAE 189.1 is designed to be used and enforced with a jurisdiction's other building codes and ordinances.
  • Requires adoption by a governing jurisdiction before it becomes mandatory.
  • Jurisdictions might want to make a detailed review of local building ordinances to ensure that they adequately correlate with this standard.
Certification/Compliance Process
  • Designed to be incorporated into a jurisdiction's codes and ordinances and enforced by building officials and inspectors.
  • Based on mandatory requirements with two compliance path options: Prescriptive Path (considered to be the simpler option with minimal choices and few calculations) and Performance Path (considered to be the more sophisticated option that provides flexibility and more options but also requires greater effort).
Relationship to Other Standards
  • It is an alternate compliance path for the International green Construction Code (IgCC); i.e., in jurisdictions that adopt IgCC, a builder has the option to design and construct a building in accordance with the provisions of ASHRAE 189.1 rather than those of IgCC.
  • Some provisions reference standards published by other organizations, e.g., ASTM International, National Science Foundation, and South Coast Air Quality Management District.

¹ In the building community, there is no consistent use or definition of the term "standard." EPA uses the term "standard" here in a broad sense to mean "something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example: CRITERION" (Merriam-Webster). EPA uses it as an umbrella term to encompass model codes, rating systems, and other publications that provide criteria for the design, construction, and maintenance of buildings.

² Any standard can be adopted as a voluntary or mandatory program. We indicate here the intent of the authors.

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