The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced the release of the first in a new series of Advanced Energy Design Guides (AEDGs) to aid architects and engineers in the design of highly energy efficient office buildings. The 50 % AEDG series will provide a practical approach to commercial buildings designed to achieve 50 % energy savings compared to the commercial building energy code used in many areas of the country. This 50 % AEDG for Small and Medium Office Buildings is the first in a series of four to be released in the coming months. These commercial building guides support President Obama’s goal to reduce energy use in commercial buildings 20 % by 2020 and will help drive demand for energy-saving products made in the United States.

Not only will these guides help builders achieve performance beyond the current energy code, but they will also provide recommendations detailing how designers can incorporate available technology to achieve these savings. The guides help architects and engineers choose energy efficient designs for daylighting, building envelope assemblies, and heating and cooling systems, among other technologies. The guides also recommend equipment commonly available from manufacturers and reduce the time and cost burdens otherwise required in order for designers to individually model energy use for specific high performance buildings. Additionally, the guides will inform the development of future commercial building energy codes.

The Advanced Energy Design Guide for 50 % energy savings in Small and Medium Office Buildings is now available for free download.

The 50 % Advanced Energy Design Guide series is being developed through a partnership with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), American Institute of Architects (AIA), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA). The Small and Medium Office guide is the first installment in the 50 % Series, which will address three additional major commercial building types: K-12 Schools, Medium to Big Box Retail Buildings, and Large Hospitals.

The Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings is the second guide being developed in the 50 % series, and is currently open for peer review through Friday, May 13, 2011. This guide is intended to provide user-friendly, 'how-to' design guidance and efficiency recommendations for elementary, middle and high school buildings, resulting in facilities that consume 50 % less energy than conventional schools.