What is Commissioning?
Building Commissioning involves a systematic and quality-driven approach in identifying deficiencies in buildings systems (like HVAC system, building envelope, lighting, cogeneration, utility plants, controls etc.) and instituting procedures to ensure that building performance is optimal.
The commissioning of new buildings ensures that building performance is in keeping with or exceeds the level for which they were designed, and concurrently, energy savings are maximized. For existing buildings, retro-commissioning procedures will identify ‘drifts’ from normal performance and make changes to those systems that will bring them back to the intended performance level.
Retro-commissioning (RCx) is the process of identifying and correcting deficient sub-systems and controls in existing buildings. The current slowdown in the global economy has increased interest in retro-commissioning existing buildings for cost savings, often with significant environmental benefits from reduced resource consumption. According to a new study by Pike Research, the total potential market for major green commissioning practices in the U.S commercial building sector is approximately $400 billion.
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Associated Renewable provides commissioning and retro-commissioning services for new and existing commercial buildings, identifying deficiencies in indoor systems, building exteriors, lighting, landscaping, energy performance, fire and safety, air quality, water use and all other building management systems. Building commissioning for energy savings is our area of expertise and our engineers provide tailored commissioning solutions for each client.
Commissioning as a ‘Stealth’ Energy-Saving Tool
Even though Commissioning can be the most cost-effective strategy for improving performance and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, its application has been low in many areas. This may be due to lack of awareness among owners, designers and managers. According to a 2011 paper on Building Commissioning1, in addition to the lack of awareness, “commissioning is also a ‘stealth’ energy-savings strategy in the sense that the deficiencies it corrects are almost always invisible to the casual observer, and unfortunately also to building designers, operators, and owners”. Therefore, owners are reluctant to spend money on commissioning/ retro-commissioning procedures.
Tangible Benefits of Commissioning
Since each building is unique, the systems and procedures identified for commissioning will be based on its unique whole-building or sub-systems analyses. Therefore, commissioning is not a ‘commodity’ product (or process), rather it takes into account the different suboptimal situations identified for each building and solves them forensically.
For instance, commissioning is different from other energy-saving strategies in that it does not instinctively accept the presence of building systems but rather, asks “is this pump necessary?” as opposed to “can we make this pump more efficient?”1 .
Commissioned buildings use less energy, have lower utility bills, extended equipment life and higher comfort levels. Additionally, studies have shown that commissioning costs are inversely proportional to the building size for existing buildings.
Associated Renewable’s commissioning and retro-commissioning specialists will conduct whole-building and mechanical sub-systems analyses to identify problem areas that need to be commissioned. Our certified professional team will calculate commissioning costs and energy savings, project costs and payback periods. Clients can expect to see significant, verifiable benefits as a direct result of our commissioning services. Contact Associated Renewable to find out more about what building commissioning can do for your business.