3 lessons from one Existing Building Commissioning case study
Nov 22, 2013

No building is a blank slate. Each building has been built with a unique mix of materials and expertise, and brings unique issues to the table once its infrastructure is up and running. Building owners and managers also bring their own past and current experiences to every discussion about a particular building. This means that, when the question of Existing Building Commissioning (EBCx) is raised, every situation will be unique.

This does not, however, mean that there are not some major issues that every proposed building commissioning process needs to keep in mind. Whether you are just learning about Existing Building commissioning for the first time, or you’ve been through the process with half a dozen buildings already, we want to share today 3 lessons that have been learned through one particular Existing Building commissioning case study.

In this particular case study, San Diego Gas and Electric deployed an EBCx pilot study to obtain sample energy savings and raise awareness of the value of EBCx services with local building owners. At the end of the study, in addition to the energy savings and awareness-raising objectives, 3 key findings were uncovered in the process:

  1. Not all buildings will be good candidates for Existing Building Commissioning. The first building considered for their pilot study had an inoperable controls system and so much deferred maintenance that this building was determined to be unsuitable for Existing Building Commissioning. The work needed in this case went much deeper than optimizing a functioning building infrastructure, which was the goal of the EBCx project.
  2. Building owners and facility managers should spread the net widely when bringing everyone to the table. In addition to all the internal players, informal as well as formal owner-contractor relationships can have a significant impact on the success of the EBCx project. All service contractors must be on board from the beginning in order to understand the reasoning behind the EBCx recommendations; otherwise they might not support the changes and the project might not succeed.
  3. Building owners’ past experiences can influence their implementation decisions. Owners or managers may have a bias toward or against a certain process based on negative or positive past experiences. While commissioning agents can do their best to support their recommendations, ultimately it is up to the building owners to implement the suggested changes. If they do not do so, the efficiencies and savings will not be realized.

To learn more about how these lessons could affect your proposed EBCx project, contact us today to discuss your particular needs.