Commissioning & Retro-Commissioning

Sustainable Engineering Solutions
offers clients both commissioning (Cx)
for new capital projects and
retro-commissioning (RCx) to tune up
existing systems to return them to
original design parameters.

Commissioning for New Capital Poducts

To meet the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) requirements, SES begins the Cx process in the pre-design phase. This early involvement is critical for the timely and useful development of a commissioning plan that addresses IECC and Owner’s project requirements, the design team basis of design, and the beginning of the operations & maintenance manual. If these tasks are left until later in the process and “reverse engineered” to match the design, their usefulness as catalysts for dialog, cost and risk management, and quality tracking tools is lost.

Our primary goal when commissioning any project is to ensure that success for the project is clearly defined up front and that the building performs as intended to fulfill that mission. We view commissioning as a holistic process that spans from pre-design planning to occupancy and operations. We strongly encourage ongoing commissioning through a reputable maintenance contractor. The goals of commissioning are to:

  • Deliver buildings and construction projects that meet the owner’s project requirements
  • Prevent or eliminate problems inexpensively through proactive quality techniques
  • Verify systems are installed and working correctly and benchmark that correct operation
  • Balance first costs with life-cycle costs for the owner
  • Provide documentation and records on the design, construction, and testing to facilitate the operation and maintenance of the facility
  • Implement trend logs, automated and semi-automated Cx tools to enable operations staff and ongoing Cx
  • Maintain facility performance for the building’s entire life cycle

Retro-Commissioning to Improve Existing Buildings

Retro-commissioning (RCx) is the application of the commissioning process to existing buildings. RCx is a process that seeks to improve how building equipment and systems function together. Depending on the age of the building, RCx can often resolve problems that occurred during design or construction, or address problems that have developed throughout the building’s life.

In all, RCx improves a building’s operations and maintenance procedures to enhance overall building performance. In a general sense, RCx is a tune-up of a building and its systems. Like any mechanical device, building systems lose efficiency and effectiveness over time. Additionally, in today’s complex structures, systems are highly interactive with sophisticated control systems that can create a trickle-down effect on building operations – small problems have significant effects on performance. No matter how well building operators and service contractors maintain equipment, if it operates inefficiently or more often than needed, energy waste and reliability problems can occur.

Everyone benefits from retro-commissioning. For owners/landlords, retro-commissioning reduces building operating costs that can lead to an increase in net operating income. Building managers notice fewer occupant complaints and increased ability to manage systems. Building staff receives training and improved documentation. And building occupants are more comfortable. A recent study reported a simple payback time of .2 to 2.1 years for the costs associated with retro-commissioning, making it an affordable as well as a beneficial investment.

When contracted for an RCx project, SES conducts an exhaustive examination of the facility HVAC systems and components and implements a systematic process to optimize the performance of the building. We establish optimal performance by understanding the owner’s requirements and finding the most economical and energy efficient way to meet them. Not every owner can afford to construct a new building, but every owner wants to ensure their building operates both at its fullest potential and lowest cost. The combination of SES’ technical expertise and our sister company Huckestein’s practical experience uniquely qualifies us to plan and execute a successful retro-commissioning project to achieve this goal.