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ISO ensures everyone speaks same technical language on energy performance of buildings

by Sandrine Tranchard on
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Public Library of Cambridge, MA USA

To ensure that everyone speaks the same technical language when it comes to evaluating the energy performance of buildings, ISO has developed a new technical report. It will particularly help rating and certification bodies unify the criteria for evaluating the energy performance of buildings.

In addition, for the first time, builders, suppliers, regulators, legislators and customers will be able to communicate in terms backed by international agreement.

ISO/TR 16344:2012, Energy performance of buildings – Common terms, definitions and symbols for the overall energy performance rating and certification, gives a vocabulary to this sector, allowing all stakeholders to share the same terms of reference. This technical report will aid the energy sector in setting up performance ratings and certification.

Though the concept of evaluating the energy performance of buildings has become topical worldwide, prior to the publication of this technical report, internationally agreed terms and definitions were absent from the conversation. This made it difficult for stakeholders in different countries to compare minimum energy performance requirements.

ISO/TR 16344:2012 provides an unambiguous and consistent common set of terms, definitions and symbols for all elements to assess the overall energy performance of buildings. Its use is essential when evaluating performance in the context of national or regional building regulations, e.g. checking compliance with minimum energy performance requirements, certifying energy performance.

Categorized by theme (the building itself, its design and the energy used) to facilitate use of the technical report, it also includes concepts and physical quantities described in helpful tables, designating energy measures with their corresponding symbols and units. Energy performance is considered for both buildings and their components, including classification of system boundaries.

A common set of symbols and subscripts has also been specified in ISO/TR 16344:2012. Symbols are introduced that are common to the set of International Standards covering the energy performance of buildings, in particular a set of subscripts to distinguish between different energy uses and energy carriers.

French and German translation of the symbols and subscripts are included.

This technical report is the first of a set of three closely related standards on the energy performance of buildings. The other two are currently in the final preparation stage: ISO 16343, Energy performance of buildings – Methods for expressing energy performance and for energy certification of buildings, and ISO 16346, Energy performance of buildings – Assessment of overall energy performance.

Egil Öfverholm, Chair of ISO/TC 163, comments: "ISO/TR 16344:2012 will answer the expectations of the building sector to use good practices and choose relevant technologies in terms of energy performance rating and certification.”

ISO/TR 16344:2012 was developed by technical committee ISO/TC 163, Thermal performance and energy use in the built environment, in conjunction with ISO/TC 205, Building environment design. It costs 140 Swiss francs and is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) and from the ISO Central Secretariat through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication and Information department.