6 signs your building needs existing building commissioning
Feb 25, 2014

6-signs-you-need-existing-building-commissioningMany building owners recognize the word “commissioning,” the process by which recently constructed buildings are assessed to confirm that all the electrical and HVAC systems work as planned.

Commissioning is usually done when a building is first completed, verifying that the structure is in tip-top shape for actual use by its inhabitants.

Retro-commissioning, or existing building commissioning, however, is more like a physical for an established, existing building. Along with this check-up usually comes prescribed maintenance and upgrading tasks in order to revitalize all the systems, with the aim of enabling the building to easily handle the needs of its occupants. Existing building commissioning (EBCx) might be needed as over time, equipment starts to wear out and partially fail, sometimes at such a slow rate that building caretakers don’t even realize its occurrence.

It’s often difficult to tell if a full analysis is actually necessitated for a building, and if EBCx needs to be tasked at all. Everyday workers in the building might consider retro-commissioning a costly, intrusive practice. So the question is, is the juice worth the squeeze?

Here’s a great outline of key factors that are very popular targets for existing building commissioning. All of the below situations can greatly affect functionality and efficiency of a building, and though they may have been in place since initial construction of the facility, there is definite room for improvement. Consider investing in EBCx if:

  • The layout of equipment or furniture can be reformatted to affect heating and cooling (thereby reducing energy output and bills)
  • There are significant build-out projects at your facility
  • Shifts in occupancy patterns or space layouts change airflow (for example, doors or windows left open)
  • Equipment is short-cycling, working at partial capacity, or frequently fails
  • HVAC, lighting controls, and other simple interfaces are often manually adjusted by occupants without being scheduled

Note that existing building commissioning based on the above factors or any other problems in your facility won’t replace the need for basic renovation, nor can it ameliorate an important backlog of postponed maintenance.

There’s a reason we call it “investing” in retro-commissioning and not “spending.” From a financial standpoint, retro-commissioning’s ROI is terrific. The monetary cost of EBCx pays for itself within two years, on average, thanks to the lowered energy bills it instigates. You’re saving the environment while lowering your overhead … what’s not to love?

For more information on how existing building commissioning can benefit your facility, contact us.

You may be interested in these other posts:

10 Signs Your Building May Need Existing Building Commissioning

If your building is exhibiting any of these key signs, you may be able to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs through EBCx.