The intangible benefits of existing building commissioning
Dec 25, 2013

At first, existing building commissioning might just seem like a time-consuming and costly process. To the contrary, though: existing building commissioning actually saves businesses money in the long run. The reasons for this are varied, but it generally stands that the savings entailed by commissioning an older building will result in energy and performance savings that far outweigh the time and money spent in the process. But did you know that building commissioning also has several intangible benefits? These are benefits that may not outwardly save money, but have other, equally important benefits to the company.

For example, picture in your mind an old building. In this old building is an old, substandard electrical system and a plumbing system that has a few problems. Maybe some of the sinks are clogged, so they take a long time to drain, and some of the faucets drip, which means they leak water. The electrical system isn’t really up to par with modern standards, and as a result may be missing modern safety features or use a lot of extra power.

Now, think of the commissioning process. A commissioner would go over the building and certainly notice that the electrical and plumbing systems need an upgrade. This is a scary and expensive process for the building owner! The upgrades will take months and cost a substantial amount of money. However, in the long run, updating these systems will also save money, along with bringing a few side benefits.

For example, when upgrading the plumbing, we can make sure that the faucets stay tight and that everything drains effectively. This tiny thing can save several thousands of gallons of water over the course of the year and really cut down on the building’s water bill. And as an intangible benefit, clients will now get a better impression of the building simply by the fact that the bathroom sinks aren’t filling up with water. Employees who use the plumbing system won’t be frustrated by the constantly running faucet or the slowly draining sink. These small benefits have more power than you think, and can cause huge boosts in morale.

As far as the electrical system goes, sure, updating it will save power. It will also make the building more safe. Although the old electrical system may have passed inspection, there are small, intangible factors that also present themselves with this sort of upgrade. Old buildings often don’t have GFCI switches or surge protectors on every outlet. Oftentimes older outlets are worn as well. By updating them, you can ensure they don’t fail at random, causing your employees hassle and frustration. Every existing building commission will entail different recommendations for the building, but remember these are just examples. Any building commission will have intangible benefits that are invaluable to employees and clients. So when considering building commissioning, remember: the money-saving isn’t the only benefit.