ASHRAE Legionella Standard Serves as Basis for New CDC Toolkit

ATLANTA – Guidance from an ASHRAE standard regarding development and implementation of a water management program to reduce building risk for legionella is the basis of a new toolkit by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The toolkit, “Developing a Water Management Program to Reduce Legionella Growth and Spread in Buildings: A Practical Guide to Implementing Industry Standards,” was released today. It provides a checklist to help identify if a water management program is needed, examples to help identify where legionella could grow and spread in a building and ways to reduce risk of contamination.

The toolkit is based on ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188-2015, "Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems".

The toolkit was announced via the CDC’s Vital Signs, a monthly update from CDC that highlights topics of public health interest. This is the first time legionella has been highlighted in Vital Signs.

“ASHRAE is pleased to have worked with the CDC to help safeguard public health,” ASHRAE President David Underwood said. “While Legionnaire’s Disease has been known for many years, recent outbreaks have increased awareness of the disease, its causes and prevention strategies. We saw the need for this shortly after the standard was published, when an outbreak in New York City left at least 12 dead and 120 infected.  At that time, portions of the standard were adopted by the city.”

“Many of the Legionnaire’s disease outbreaks in the United States over the past 15 years could have been prevented,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D. M.P.H. “Better water system management is the best way to reduce illness and save lives and today’s report promotes tools to make that happen.”

An earlier version of the toolkit was developed by the CDC, the state of Michigan and Genesee County to encourage at-risk building owners in Flint, Mich., to design and implement Standard 188 compliant water management plans. ASHRAE took part in a town hall meeting there to educate officials about the risks.

“The water crisis in Flint and the deaths there from Legionnaire’s Disease demonstrate that great care must be given to the entire building water system,” Underwood said.

Standard 188 can be previewed at no cost at The toolkit is available at

ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a global society advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment. The Society and its more than 55,000 members worldwide focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability. Through research, standards writing, publishing, certification and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today. More information can be found at

Jun 7, 2016
Contact: Jodi Scott
Public Relations
[email protected]

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Despite New House Action a Comprehensive Energy Law Remains a Distant Possibility this Year

This week the US House of Representatives approved a bill that sets the stage for the development of comprehensive energy legislation in a conference committee – one of the final steps before a bill is presented to the President for his/her signature or veto. Despite the seeming progress, this action only served to highlight the deep divisions that persist in the House between Republicans and Democrats, as the bill was approved by a vote of 241 to 178, with only eight Democrats voting in favor of the measure.

The legislation approved by the House is actually a combination of several bills rolled into one, addressing such areas as forest management, critical minerals, sportsmen protections, and a host of other issues. Also included in the package is H.R.8, which contains harmful building energy codes provisions that ASHRAE continues to strongly oppose in favor of the bipartisan consensus-based language found in the Senate-passed comprehensive energy bill, S.2012. (Click here for a high-level summary of what the House passed.)

The big differences between the House and Senate legislation – and the fact that the House bill is largely supported by Republicans while the Senate bill is more truly bipartisan (by a the Senate bill was approved vote of 85 to 12 of 85 to 12) – mean that compromise will be difficult to come by. Compounding this challenge are a lack of time on the legislative calendar and ill will created from disagreements between Members of Congress on other legislation. While anything is possible and discussions will continue, the resulting outlook of a comprehensive energy bill reaching the President’s desk this year in a form that he can sign is increasingly unlikely.

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The world is about to install 700 million air conditioners. Here’s what that means for the climate

As summer temperatures finally settle in, many in the United States take it for granted that they can dial down the thermostat: Americans use 5 percent of all of their electricity cooling homes and buildings. In many other countries, however — including countries in much hotter climates — air conditioning is still a relative rarity. But as these countries boom in wealth and population, and extend electricity to more people even as the climate warms, the projections are clear: They are going to install mind-boggling amounts of air conditioning, not just for comfort but as a health necessity.

That’s already happened in some places. In just 15 years, urban areas of China went from just a few percentage points of air conditioning penetration to exceeding 100 percent — “i.e. more than one room air conditioner (AC) per urban household,” according to a recent report on the global AC boom by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. And air conditioner sales are now increasing in India, Indonesia and Brazil by between 10 and 15 percent per year, the research noted. India, a nation of 1.25 billion people, had just 5 percent air conditioning penetration in the year 2011.

study last year similarly found “a close relationship between household income and air conditioner adoption, with ownership increasing 2.7 percentage points per $1,000 of annual household income.” For Mexico in particular, it therefore projected a stupendous growth of air conditioning over the 21st century, from 13 percent of homes having it  to 71 to 81 percent of homes.

“We expect that the demand for cooling as economies improve, particularly in hot climates, is going to be an incredible driver of electricity requirements,” U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in an interview.

In most ways, of course, this is a very good thing: Protecting people from intense heat — a town in India this month saw temperatures exceed 123 degrees Fahrenheit — is essential for their health and well-being. It’s just that it’s going to come with a huge energy demand, and potentially huge carbon emissions to boot.

Overall, the Berkeley report projects that the world is poised to install 700 million air conditioners by 2030, and 1.6 billion of them by 2050. In terms of electricity use and greenhouse gas emissions, that’s like adding several new countries to the world.

To try to address this problem, Moniz’s department is participating in the Advanced Cooling Challenge, which is to be launched Thursday in San Francisco at the 7th Clean Energy Ministerial, a global meeting of national energy policy leaders. The goal will be to find creative solutions to lessen the energy and climate impact of an unstoppable trend toward more global air conditioning — by making air conditioners much more energy efficient, and also less dependent on HFCs or hydrofluorocarbons as refrigerants, because these substances themselves act as an extremely powerful greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

“A 25 to 30 percent improvement in efficiency, which we certainly think is technologically possibly, can have an enormous difference in terms of, especially, peak demand for electricity going forward,” Moniz said.

That’s partly a function of making already efficient technologies more widely available. The Berkeley Laboratory report found, for instance, that some mini-split air conditioners available today in Korea are already 50 percent more energy efficient than the standard model on the market.

The biggest country for air conditioning growth, and associated greenhouse gas emissions, is projected to be India, said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, which focuses on short-term, high impact fixes to the climate problem. The country experiences not only extremely hot temperatures, but has relatively little air conditioning installed so far — indeed, in coming years India hopes to first bring electricity itself to several-hundred-million people.

“If they can focus on the efficient machines, they can save a tremendous amount of power,” Zaelke said.

Zaelke and Moniz said that the real impact for the planetary greenhouse will be if the world can combine a restriction on emissions of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, the global treaty originally adopted in 1987 to address ozone depleting substances like CFCs, with greater air conditioner efficiency overall. The Protocol “has never failed to do its job once it has gotten its assignment,” Zaelke said.

The Berkeley Laboratory study found that if the world can shift toward 30 percent more efficient air conditioners, and phase out HFCs at the same time, that could effectively offset the construction of as many as 1,550 peak power plants.

It further found that in terms of emissions avoided, this approach would have an even bigger impact than huge renewable energy projects – saving eight times as many emissions as China’s Three Gorges dam, and two times as many as India’s solar initiative. By the year 2050 for the globe as a whole, meanwhile, the total avoided carbon dioxide equivalent emissions could amount to some 4 billion tons annually — more than any single country other than China and the United States currently emit — with 1 billion tons of emissions avoided in India alone.

Cumulatively, by 2050, the report finds that the world could avoid 98 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions. That figure is not only massive, but would represent fully 10 percent of the roughly 1,000 billion tons of CO2 that we could still emit from the year 2011 forward, according to scientists, and still have betting odds of keeping the planet’s warming below the international target of 2 degrees Celsius.

The HFC shift seems set to play out under the Montreal Protocol. The question then becomes, how do you shift the global air conditioner market to favor far greater efficiency? According to Moniz, the world needs both research and development, but also businesses that sell or purchase large volumes of air conditioning — say, hotels — to commit to only carrying highly efficient models. And then, the whole global market could shift.

If all this happens, he said, “that family in pick-your-favorite-non-temperate-zone country, that family is going to see its best opportunity in these newer, super efficient, non-HFC kinds of cooling technologies. … So that’s the idea.”