Retro-Commissioning terminology
Aug 09, 2013

When you’re looking to save on energy costs and improve energy efficiency for your building, you’re usually faced with a number of different commissioning options, such as re-commissioning, continuous commissioning, and retro-commissioning.

If you’re not familiar with the engineering industry and its terminology, trying to grasp the differences between certain types of commissioning can leave you feeling confused and unsure of which program could be most beneficial for your building.

To better work with and understand your commissioning contractor, familiarize yourself with these common commissioning terms below.


Commissioning is the process of making sure that your building’s code and performance currently meet the criteria and efficiency standards set in place by the building’s stakeholders, owners, and tenants.

For example, when owners build or purchase a new building and want to make sure air conditioning units function for all tenants during the hottest part of summer, commissioning will most likely involve running the proper tests to ensure that the building will function at optimal and efficient levels during that time period.


Re-commissioning is a process conducted on buildings several years after operations begin to make sure that its systems and overall efficiency continues to meet industry standards. Re-commissioning can also be conducted when a building comes under new ownership and requires different efficiency standards.

For example, if a building previously housed a series of real estate offices, but will now be used as a hospital or clinic, the re-commissioning process can involve updating systems to support high-tech and energy-consuming medical equipment.

Continuous Commissioning

The process of continuous commissioning can take place when a building requires ongoing monitoring of systems to ensure that equipment continues to run efficiently and optimally. Building owners and stakeholders may contract for continuous commissioning if equipment performance is vital to a business.

For example, if a building houses a number of servers that store and protect sensitive data, then keeping air conditioning or HVAC units running optimally and efficiently is important to avoid any physical damage occurring to the servers.


Retro-Commissioning is a process conducted on existing buildings that may not have been commissioned at the time of construction, or that have developed a series of efficiency problems over the course of the building’s lifespan.

During Retro-Commissioning, engineers will examine and analyze a building’s original design and make plans to improve the overall efficiency of the building. In most cases, improving the building’s efficiency can involve replacing or improving existing equipment to save on energy costs.

In the end, Retro-Commissioning can result in thousands or even millions of dollars in energy savings annually, while also improving indoor air quality, productivity, and tenant comfort. A building’s property value can also increase after Retro-Commissioning.

sys-tek currently offers commissioning and Retro-Commissioning services. To determine whether your building’s performance and energy efficiency can be improved through commissioning or Retro-Commissioning, contact sys-tek today to discuss your options.