Dave Camden, PMP, CxA, Affiliated Engineers, Inc. published “Maintaining Profit Through Strategic Facility Decisions” in Building Enclosure, July 2021.

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This article discusses how owners and operators should consider a facility assessment to understand risks and obtain strategies to help achieve their goals. Properly executed, an assessment is a low cost, objective review which provides priority-based recommendations.


Commissioning, Re-commissioning or Retro-commissioning

Commissioning is a methodical process. It involves systematic processes of verifying and documenting systems and equipment are planned, designed, installed, tested, operated, and maintained to achieve project requirements. The goal of commissioning is to turn over a building that delivers, or exceeds, the performance and energy savings promised by its design. It is not uncommon that a Commissioning Authority (CxA) encounters systems that do not work as designed.  A knowledgeable CxA will help provide solutions to achieve the desired result. Properly executed, commissioning leads to systems which are reliable, repeatable, maintainable, and efficient.

Building commissioning is one method that owners and operators can utilize to save energy, and ultimately, money. Commissioning is the process that sees that the building’s systems and equipment are installed and work correctly and efficiently. It also provides an opportunity to identify and correct any suboptimal operating conditions. Owners and operators are also commonly motivated to perform building commissioning to gain benefits to system performance, thermal comfort, and indoor air quality.

Buildings that are not commissioned will cost 8-20% more to operate than one that is commissioned, as reported by the U.S. Department of Energy. Therefore, the payback of commissioning can be relatively quick — the cost of performing commissioning is typically paid back in less than five years from energy savings alone.

The needs of each facility are as unique as the professionals who work in them. A facility assessment can quickly identify areas of improvement in a building systems’ performance, prioritize high-risk assets and establish a plan that meets the owner’s current facility requirements and leads to future cost savings. Owners and operators should seek to partner with teams that have an in-depth understanding of facility assessments and how to turn findings into actionable and cost saving results.