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Do energy codes permit mechanical cooling for exterior spaces?

asked 2016-05-27 07:53:27 -0500

JO gravatar image

updated 2017-04-15 09:07:58 -0500

I've been searching and searching and can't find any specific section (Mandatory or Prescriptive) that prohibits mechanical cooling for exterior spaces. I can think of dozens of reasons why it's a bad idea. But it just seems incredible that energy codes don't address this.

Am I missing something? I would be overjoyed if someone finds something that says this is not permitted.

I've been looking in the following codes: IECC 2012; ASHRAE 90.1-2010; California Energy Code 2013


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As a historical note, in the early 1990's I was involved in developing an energy code for Hawaii that explicitly limited cooling of unenclosed spaces. At first it was to be disallowed, but push back from the hospitality industry lead to a compromise by setting a limit of 20 Btu/hr-sf of cooling capacity for such spaces. Pretty crazy...

Erik Kolderup gravatar image Erik Kolderup  ( 2016-06-04 16:22:19 -0500 )edit

Thanks for the feedback Erik!

JO gravatar image JO  ( 2016-06-10 10:12:24 -0500 )edit

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answered 2016-06-03 13:07:08 -0500

updated 2016-06-04 16:24:41 -0500

I do not see any provisions in 90.1-2010 (or 90.1-2013) that prohibit the use of mechanical cooling for exterior spaces. The closest requirement that I know of is Section Heating Unenclosed Spaces which requires the use of radiant heating for spaces that are not enclosed. So at least you cannot blow heated air outside. The lack of a cooling requirement is unfortunate in my opinion.

Another section in 90.1-2013 (not 90.1-2010) is 6.5.10 Door Switches which either disables mechanical heating and cooling or requires a huge setup (90F) and setback (55F) when a door is open to the outdoors for more than a few minutes. Still not exactly what you want but it does imply an intention, perhaps, of how the outdoors should be treated.

Please note that this is my personal opinion and interpretation of the standard and should not be considered an official interpretation (I say this because I am a member of the 90.1 committee).

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Thank you so much for your feedback. I'm hoping the committee will consider adding a section similar to but for cooling. Perhaps limit to radiant (like they do in soccer stadiums) or fan assisted evaporate cooling (like misting devices we often see in amusement parks or sports venues).

JO gravatar image JO  ( 2016-06-10 10:12:00 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2016-05-27 07:53:27 -0500

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Last updated: Jun 04 '16