When it comes to green-building certifications, small buildings may soon lose an exemption regarding commissioning, and the building industry has several weeks to weigh in on the possibility. Currently, under green-building standards to the USGBC, ASHRAE, and Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), low-rise residential buildings, or buildings that take up less than 5,000 square feet, are exempt from the more rigorous commissioning requirements. A proposed addendum to the commissioning process for small buildings un Standard 189.1-2011, however, would remove this exemption. The proposed change is open for public review until Nov. 18.

Standard 189.1-2011, as written by ANSI, ASHRAE, USGBC, and IES, covers site sustainability, water-use efficiency, energy efficiency, and indoor environmental quality, among other areas. Addendum p would remove the Acceptance Testing provision from the standard, which now grants small buildings reprieve from the full commissioning process.

According to a statement by ASHRAE, “Currently, the standard implies that when a building area is less than 5,000 square feet it is considered to have simple building systems … However, building area does not relate to complexity as many buildings less than 5,000 square feet can be complex.”

If the addendum is passed, all buildings that are designed and built under the requirements of the standard, regardless of size, will have to abide by the same building commissioning effort.

For more information on Standard 189.1-2011 or to comment on the proposed changes, go to ashrae.org/publicreviews.