Building Environmental Impacts and Sustainability
ASHRAE Technical Committee 2.8

Scope of TC 2.8

TC 2.8 is concerned with the environmental, social and economic impacts of buildings, including effects on ecosystem sustainability and the well-being of building occupants. The committee works to enhance awareness of these issues and the resiliency needed to adapt to a changing climate. Building impacts of concern include, but are not limited to, environmental impacts of energy and water production, conversion, delivery and use; availability of energy and other resources; pollution of air, water, and soil; and encroachment on sensitive habitats and ecosystems.

Existing and Future Buildings Challenges


The ASHRAE Handbook is published in a series of four volumes, one of which is revised each year, ensuring that no volume is older than four years.

TC 2.8 updates and maintains the following chapters in the Handbook:

FUNDAMENTALS: "Energy Resources"
Energy used in buildings and facilities is responsible for 30 to 40% of the world's energy use, significantly impacting world energy resources.  ASHRAE's work to reduce energy consumption in the built environment is equally as important as research on new, more sustainable energy sources in helping ensure a reliable and secure supply of energy for future generations.

FUNDAMENTALS: "Sustainability"
Sustainability is today a goal that just about every organization, institution, business, or individual claims to be striving for, and sometimes claims to have achieved. Given the profound impact of buildings on the environment, the work of HVAC&R design engineers is inextricably linked to sustainability. The engineering sector has seminal influence on building performance, and HVAC&R designers’ work is inherently related to overall sustainability in buildings.

The FUNDAMENTALS HANDBOOK can be purchased from the ASHRAE on-line bookstore by clicking the highlighted link.

Comment on the Handbook: ASHRAE welcomes your comments on the Handbook or a specific Handbook chapter.  To submit a comment about any aspect or part of the Handbook series, you can use the Handbook Comment Form.

Review a Handbook Chapter: To provide your feedback about a specific Handbook chapter, you can answer the brief survey questions on the Handbook Chapter Review Form.





Technical Committees develop and sponsor technical sessions at the winter and annual conferences. Information about their future technical program is discussed at each TC meeting and at the TC’s Program Subcommittee meeting.

ASHRAE publishes papers and transactions from presentations at its conference events. In addition, ASHRAE records most of the seminar sessions from its conferences on DVD. These DVDs are ideal for use at chapter meetings, in university courses, or company lunch and learns. Products available from the most recent conference may be found here.

To see the programs sponsored and co-sponsored by TC2.8 at this meeting,got to the Meetings page. For programs sponsored and co-sponsored at past meetings, visit the Past Programs page.


Technical Committees are responsible for identifying research topics, proposing research projects, selecting bidders, and monitoring research projects funded by ASHRAE.  Information about their specific research program is discussed at each TC meeting and at the TC’s Research Subcommittee meeting.

TC 2.8 has recently completed the following research project:

An Evaluation of the Actual Energy Performance of Small Office and K-12 School Buildings Designed in Accordance with the 30% ASHRAE Advanced Energy Design Guides

Compare Energy Utilization Indices (EUIs; site energy use per unit area per year), normalized based on standard hours of operation and plug load energy use, for a sample of small office and K-12 school buildings designed in accordance with the first (30%) ASHRAE AEDGs to the modeled EUIs of small office and K-12 school buildings in the same climate zone that meet the requirements of ASHRAE Standard 90.1-1999. The normalized EUIs of a “control group” of buildings designed in accordance with Standard 90.1-1999 will also be calculated and compared to those of the buildings designed in accordance with the AEDGs. More information on this research project (and all ASHRAE research projects) can be found here. Members can download the final report for free and non-members can subscribe to receive research reports.

On-going research projects for TC 2.8 are:

Actual Energy Performance of Secondary Schools and Medium Offices Designed to Comply with ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010

The objective of this research is to quantify and analyze the actual energy performance of commercial buildings designed in compliance with ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010, using secondary schools and medium office buildings.

Standards & Publications

ASHRAE writes standards for the purpose of establishing consensus for: 1) methods of test for use in commerce and 2) performance criteria for use as facilitators with which to guide the industry. ASHRAE publishes the following three types of voluntary consensus standards: Method of Measurement or Test, Standard Design and Standard Practice. ASHRAE does not write rating standards unless a suitable rating standard will not otherwise be available. ASHRAE is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and follows ANSI's requirements for due process and standards development.  Standards may be purchased at the ASHRAE On-line Bookstore.

TC 2.8 Is cognizant technical committee for the following standards:

Standard 189.1: Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential
Standard 189.3:Design, Construction, and Operation of Sustainable High-Performance Health Care Facilities
Standard 191P: Standard for the Conservation of Water Use in Building, Site and Mechanical Systems

These standards may be purchased at the ASHRAE On-line Bookstore.

TC 2.8 is the technical committee that writes, edits, and maintains the ASHRAE Green Guide. Whether you are an HVAC&R system designer, architect, building owner, building manager/operator, or contractor charged with designing a green building, ASHRAE GreenGuideaims to help you answer your biggest question - "What do I do now?" The 6th edition is currently close to being published! 

The subcommittee is currently developing a new ASHRAE Water Energy Nexus Guide. Please email the Chair at for more information on how to get involved.

Water-Energy Nexus

Water and energy are two of the three most critical systems of our society. Water and energy systems are fundamentally linked and interdependent of each other. Our built environment uses large amounts of water for both end use and for heating and cooling. Providing and using water for these processes requires large amounts of energy. Concurrently producing the energy to operate these built environments requires large amounts of water. The Water Energy Nexus subcommittee was founded to raise awareness of this connection, the issues caused by this relationship and the resiliency needed to adapt in the age of climate change.

Global water and energy demands are projected to increase in order to sustain our growing population. Rising energy cost and shortage in fresh water availability are requiring us to rethink the ways we manage energy and water usages in the built environment. The Water Energy Nexus subcommittee researches and develops integrated modeling systems which can identify tradeoffs and synergies among water/energy usage in buildings and identify holistic solutions. The subcommittee develops guidelines for holistic water/energy use and management in buildings. 

The subcommittee is currently developing a new ASHRAE Water Energy Nexus Guide. Other ways you can contribute to the subcommittee are:

  • Research or collect information about energy-water nexus and related water usage topics for inclusion in design guide.  Disseminate this information to other committee members. 
  • Write the design guide appendix that includes useful engineering data, conversion factors, formulas, and pipe friction data.
  1. Write chapters in design guide.
  2. Review committee technical papers and chapters of design guide.
  3. Support other committee members writing design guide chapters.
  4. Attend committee meetings and contribute to discussions.
  5. Write ASHRAE research proposals.

Frequently Asked Questions

ASHRAE Technical FAQs are provided as a service to ASHRAE members, users of ASHRAE publications, and the general public. While every effort has been made to ensure their accuracy and reliability, they are advisory and provided for informational purposes only, and in many cases represent only one person’s view. They are not intended and should not be relied on as an official statement of ASHRAE.

 Technical questions not addressed may be submitted to the ASHRAE Technical Services department at

What are the aims and scope of TC2.8?
ASHRAE’s Technical Committee 2.8 ‘Building Environmental Impacts and Sustainability’ is concerned with the environmental, social, and economic impacts of buildings, including effects on ecosystem sustainability and the well-being of building occupants. Accordingly, TC2.8 proposes research projects, organizes program events, prepares handbook information, and is responsible for updating the following Fundamental Handbook chapter: Energy Resources and Sustainability, updating the ASHRAE Green Guide, and is the cognizant technical committee for the following standards: Standard 189.1Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise ResidentialStandard 189.3Design, Construction, and Operation of Sustainable High-Performance Health Care Facilities, and Standard 191PStandard for the Conservation of Water Use in Building, Site and Mechanical Systems. The subcommittee is currently developing a new ASHRAE Water Energy Nexus Guide.

How is TC2.8 organized?
TC2.8 is organized as a main committee with six subcommittees. The four topical subcommittees are Existing and Future Building Challenges, International, Research, and Water-Energy Nexus. In addition, a Handbook subcommittee prepares and updates the relevant handbook chapters. The Programs subcommittee identifies seminars and presentations for upcoming ASHRAE meetings.

How can I contribute to TC2.8?
TC2.8 meets at ASHRAE semi-annual meetings. The meetings are open for anybody to attend – ASHRAE members, non-members, and visitors. The committee (and other interested parties) also communicate using an email list. All of the work of the committee is done on a voluntary basis. You do not have to be a formal member of the committee to volunteer for anything although some activities, such as project evaluation subcommittees require meeting attendance for participation. ASHRAE keeps a roster of the committee's voting members and corresponding members. If you want to be a corresponding member you can sign up under your ASHRAE profile or join our listserve.

You do not have to be a formal member of the committee to be on a subcommittee. The subcommittees are often looking for volunteers to organize program events and prepare research project proposals (RTARs and Work Statements). If you are interested in working on a research proposal you are encouraged to find one or more other people involved with the relevant subcommittee to work with.

Why should I attend TC2.8?
If you are interested in the impacts of buildings on the environment and the well-being of building occupants, we welcome you to join one (or all) of our meetings! See our past programs, which reflect the interests of our TC. Topics include energy efficiency, net-zero energy buildings, water efficiency, case studies and modeling, healthier buildings, the ASHRAE Advanced Energy Design Guides, climate change, and more. Hope to see you at one of our meetings!

Other Activities

To promote building energy efficiency, ASHRAE and its partners are making the Advanced Energy Design Guides for 30% and 50% Savings available for free download (PDF) here.

TC 2.8 participates on the following Multi-Disciplinary Task Groups (MTG):

MTG Avoided Sources Energy Consumption Due to Waste Heat Recovery and Heat Pump Technologies
MTG.ASEC will coordinate development of credible quantification methodologies of the avoided electric power generation and/or primary energy consumptions resulting from the application of heat pump and waste energy recovery technologies.  Responsibilities of the MTG include the development of research and/or tool needs and development of technical programs.

MTG Hot Climate Design Guide
MTG.HCDG will coordinate TC/TG/TRG technical Activities to help support the development of the technical basis and adoption of the Hot Climate Design Guide. Responsibilities include suggestions for Research, Development and Presentations and special publications detailing aspects of the Hot Climate Design Guide.

MTG Impact of ASHRAE Standards and Technology on Energy Savings/Performance
MTG.IAST will generate research proposal(s) and work with the selected consultants/contractors to conduct research, collect and organize the data in a summarized format for Initiative 1B of the Society Strategic Plan  “ASHRAE will research the true impact of its standards and technology” as requested by the Board of Directors.

MTG Occupant Behavior in Buildings
MTG.OGG will coordinate TC/TG/TRG technical activities to help implement the recommendations from this MTG. This includes coordinating efforts in education, modeling, research, standards, marketing, advocacy, and fund raising within ASHRAE.  Research project initiation as the sponsoring committee is included in the scope of this MTG. 

Occupant behavior in buildings refers to occupants’ comfort preference, presence and movement, and interactions with building systems that have impact on performance (thermal, visual, acoustic, and IAQ) of buildings. The interactions include adjusting the thermostat settings, opening or closing windows, dimming or turning on/off lights, pulling up or down window blinds, switching on or off plug-loads, and consuming domestic hot water.

MTG Operations and Maintenance Activities That Impact Energy Efficiency
MTG.O&MEE will coordinate TC/TG/TRG activities to help support the application of ASHRAE guidelines, Standards and other technical resources to support regulatory bodies, utilities, building owners and others who are attempting to enhance efficiency of existing buildings. Responsibilities include suggestions for research, development and presentation of technical programs of all types on maintenance and its impact on energy consumption and efficiency. It will be especially involved with interactions with those who are introducing and evaluating strategies for building efficiency enhancements. This MTG will maintain interface with and call on the resources of TCs in Sections 2, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9 and maintain an especially close relationship with Standards 90.1 & 2. It will also maintain a relationship with GGAC. It will both draw on their knowledge and contribute areas of interest that it may be productive for them to consider.