Commissioning is the process of ensuring that the systems in your building are designed, installed, functionally tested and capable of being operated and maintained according to your operational needs. This process is required in order to qualify for LEED certification, and is increasingly mandated by state and local governments for large buildings.
Commissioning - New Construction
Commissioning is an intensive process that ensures that a new building operates as intended by the design and that building staff are prepared to operate and maintain its systems and equipment.
No matter how carefully a building is designed, if the systems, equipment and materials are not installed and operating as intended, the building will not perform well. Today’s complex buildings have highly interactive systems, some with sophisticated control systems. Small problems can have large effects on performance. Commissioning begins during the design of a new building and continues through construction, occupancy, and operation.
Retro-commissioning, Recommissioning, and Ongoing Commissioning
Retro-commissioning applies the commissioning process to existing buildings, with an eye to improving the building’s performance. Retro-commissioning can resolve problems that occurred during building design or construction, or address problems that have developed during the building’s life.
- Lower utility bills. Through adjustments made as a result of retro-commissioning, a building’s energy use may be reduced by an average of 5%-15%. In some cases, annual savings of as much as 30% are possible.
- Reduce repairs and replacements. Retro-commissioning improves system performance, increases equipment life, and reduces the need for repairs, which can save money and result in fewer comfort complaints.
- Protect or enhance property value. A building that performs well can maintain high occupancy rates, experience slower tenant turnover, and give the owner a competitive edge in the marketplace.
- Protect against future liability. A building’s indoor environmental quality affects the health, comfort, and productivity of its occupants and ranges from mildly inconvenient to very serious.
- Increase a building’s EPA energy performance rating.
Optimum building performance can be maintained over time following retro-commissioning through persistence strategies such as recommissioning or ongoing commissioning.
Recommissioning applies the commissioning process to a building that has been previously
commissioned (during new construction) or retro-commissioned. It is normally done every three to five years, or whenever the building experiences a change in use.
In ongoing commissioning, monitoring equipment and trending software is placed to continuously track of energy consumption, so that problems can be identified and addressed promptly. Also, building maintenance is enhanced to include operational procedures that promote energy efficiency.