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New ISO Standard Establishes Glossary of Terms for Building Energy Performance


New York, Apr 10, 2013

Originally published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 205, Building environment design, in conjunction with ISO TC 163, Thermal performance and energy use in the built environment, has developed a new standard, ISO/TR 16344:2012, Energy performance of buildings – Common terms, definitions and symbols for the overall energy performance rating and certification, that sets down guidelines for technical language associated with the evaluation of the energy performance of buildings.

The new standard is expected to help rating and certification bodies unify the criteria for evaluating the energy performance of buildings, while also allowing builders, suppliers, regulators, legislators, and customers to communicate using relevant, internationally agreed-upon terms. Prior to the publication of this standard, internationally agreed terms and definitions were hard to come by, making it difficult for stakeholders in different countries to compare minimum energy performance requirements.

ISO/TR 16344:2012 establishes an unambiguous and consistent common set of terms, definitions, and symbols for all elements to assess the overall energy performance of buildings. The standard includes helpful tables containing relevant concepts and physical quantities, designating energy measures with their corresponding symbols and units, and lists symbols and subscripts that are common to the set of International Standards covering the energy performance of buildings. ISO/TR 16344:2012 is expected to aid the energy sector in setting up performance ratings and certification.


Established in 1975, ISO TC 163 carries out standardization work related to building and civil engineering works, with a particular focus on the thermal and hygrothermal performance of materials, components, elements, and systems, as well as thermal insulation materials and products for building and industrial application. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO TC 163 is ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator.

ISO TC 205 was created in 1992 to develop standards associated with the design of new buildings and the retrofit of existing buildings for the purposes of energy conservation and efficiency. The U.S. holds the secretariat of ISO TC 205, with ANSI member and audited designator ASHRAE serving as the delegated secretary and associated ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG Administrator. Stephen Turner of the U.S., the northeast region managing director for CTG Energetics, currently serves as the committee’s chairperson.

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