/ Buildings / Tall, Supertall, Megatall: ASHRAE Provides Design Guidance for All

Tall, Supertall, Megatall: ASHRAE Provides Design Guidance for All

Matt Ball on June 30, 2015 - in Buildings, Corporate, Design/Engineering

ATLANTA, June 30, 2015—Tall buildings challenge the imagination of designers and test the fortitude of engineers. And as they continue to rise in height and in numbers, guidance is needed to meet their critical design elements.

“Tall buildings present unique and formidable challenges to architects and engineers because of their size, location in major urban areas and the multiple, complex occupancies they often contain,” Peter Simmonds, author of a new book from ASHRAE on tall building design guidance. He is a member of ASHRAE Technical Committee 9.12, Tall Buildings.

The book, co-sponsored by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, is titled “ASHRAE Design Guide for Tall, Supertall and Megatall Building Systems.” It covers buildings that, for the purpose of the book, are defined as tall (300 plus feet), supertall (984 plus feet) and megatall (1968 plus feet) . The Guide has a broadened scope and updated content since an earlier guide published in 2004.

In 2004, there were only about 300 buildings taller than 656 feet. This number increased to 600 in 2010, and predictions were that there would be 765 buildings in 2012. In addition, the two new classes of supertall and megatall buildings have been added.

In the foreword, Antony Wood, executive director of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, notes that tall buildings are exceptional.

They require enormous amounts of energy to move their occupants from floor to floor, exhaust the heat they and their many electronics generate, and provide chilled air or heat to keep conditions comfortable,” he writes. “They require enormous skill and effort to seal envelopes and keep them airtight against the elements and to prevent unpleasant pressure changes as elevators hurtle up and down their lengths.”

Major sections cover the following topics:

  • Architectural design
  • Façade systems
  • Climate data
  • Indoor air quality and thermal comfort
  • HVAC systems
  • Electrical system interfaces
  • Intelligent buildings and controls
  • Water distribution
  • Plumbing systems
  • Energy modeling and authentication
  • Vertical transportation
  • Life safety
  • Needs of residential occupancies.

The book also includes appendices with examples of stack effect and wind pressure for four representative climates, energy analysis examples and HVAC design criteria and a systems description for multiple-tenant office buildings.

The guide is based on ASHRAE Research Project 1673, “Revision of the ASHRAE HVAC Design Guide for Tall Commercial Buildings.”

The cost of the “ASHRAE Design Guide for Tall, Supertall and Megatall Building Systems” is $115 ($98, ASHRAE members). To order, visit www.ashrae.org/Megatall  or contact ASHRAE Customer Contact Center at 1-800-527-4723 (United States and Canada) or 404-636-8400 (worldwide) or fax 678-539-2129.


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 50,000 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 www.ashrae.org/news.

Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) is the world’s leading resource for professionals focused on the inception, design, construction, and operation of tall buildings and future cities. A not-for-profit organization, founded in 1969 and based at Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology, CTBUH has an Asia Headquarters office at Tongji University, Shanghai, and a Research Office at Luav University, Venice, Italy. CTBUH facilitates the exchange of the latest knowledge available on tall buildings through publications, research, events, working groups, web resources, and its extensive network of international representatives. The CTBUH also developed the international standards for measuring tall building height and is recognized as the arbiter for bestowing such designations as “The World’s Tallest Building.”


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