Keeping up savings after Retro-Commissioning
Aug 30, 2013

Did you know that the average reduction in energy costs as a result of retro-commissioning is 16 percent? The rate is even higher with buildings that operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Unfortunately, failing to keep up with the recommended changes following the Retro-Commissioning process can cause savings to degrade over time, but building owners and operators can take a number of steps to ensure that the Retro-Commissioning investment continues to pay off.

The Retro-Commissioning process often identifies systemic issues in addition to mechanical ones. If a machine has been incorrectly or incompletely installed, correcting that mechanical mistake is a permanent solution — or at least as permanent as the life of the machine.

Systemic issues, however, can be more difficult to sustain. Sometimes there are competing objectives within an organization, or even between building engineers and contractors or vendors. The Retro-Commissioning project may address one side of the equation without realizing that there is a second side waiting to take advantage of the changes to promote its own needs.

For example, the Retro-Commissioning report may suggest that the building temperature overnight be raised slightly in winter because of the cost of bringing the building back to optimal working temperature in the morning; however, the HVAC vendor might not agree with that theory. When the vendor next makes checks on the system settings, he or she may reset the controls to the prior settings, thereby undoing the Retro-Commissioning work. If facilities managers are not aware of this change and not monitoring energy usage, the energy savings will be lost.

This is one reason why commissioning agents are increasingly discussing what we call “supported Retro-Commissioning.” The “support” refers to making changes in the way people and processes handle building facilities. There must be support for change throughout the organization, and the various business processes, in order for any Retro-Commissioning efforts to be sustained long-term.

At sys-tek, our Retro-Commissioning services include training key personnel on how to sustain your energy cost reductions over the long term, and how to end the erosion factor that plays a damaging role in most Retro-Commissioning projects. Contact sys-tek today to learn more about Retro-Commissioning and how it can benefit your organization.