A Look At ASHRAE’s Public Review Process

ASHRAE put out a press release last week stating that there are 10 proposed addenda to Standard 90.1 up for public review.  The addenda cover a wide variety of topics including lighting, cooling for vestibules, climate data, and baseline preheat coil requirements.  There is a 30-day period – from December 5, 2014 to January 4, 2015 – for the public to submit comments.  I never looked into how that process works until this morning.

To read through the revisions, ASHRAE posts documents on its website.  You must have an ASHRAE login to submit a comment.  A login is easy to create if you do not have one.  Here’s a screenshot of what the page looks like:


ASHRAE Public Review


Currently, there are 14 addenda on the website for public review.  The revisions in each document are nicely shown with strikethrough font for text to be removed, and underlined font for text additions.  30-day or 45-day review periods seem to be the typical time frame ASHRAE allows.  I was excited to click on the “Comments” button and read through discussion threads.  To my surprise, not a single comment was submitted on any of the 14 addenda shown.  Granted, a lot of changes are simply a matter of semantics. However, some changes are more than just a matter of words and should warrant discussion.  For example, Section 4.3 of Addendum A to ASHRAE Guildeline 13-2014, Specifying Building Automation Systems is an entirely new section titled, “Impact of the Internet on the BAS Design and Specification Process”.  This should be a hot topic given the increasing IT security concerns for governments and large corporations.

Why is it that there is little interest in the addenda?  Aside from the obvious reasons – time consuming, semantics, “its someone else’s job” mentality – these changes just aren’t well advertised.  Design professionals also tend to focus more on local codes.  Until local codes adopt the latest standards, the addenda has little meaning to designers and installers.