Commissioning and Retro-Commissioning

tall-buildings-treesThere are many benefits to Commissioning (Cx), Retro-Commissioning (RCx), and Re-Commissioning (RCx) facilities.  For example, in 2009, Dr. Evan Mills with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released a report titled “Building Commissioning: A Golden Opportunity for Reducing Energy Costs and Greenhouse Gas Emissions”.  In the report, Dr. Mills stated that “Commissioning is arguably the single-most cost-effective strategy for reducing energy, costs, and greenhouse gas emissions in buildings today.”  In the study of more than 600 buildings, Dr. Mills found that the median energy savings of commissioning for new construction and existing buildings was 13% and 16%, respectively; the payback on energy savings alone was 4.2 years for new construction and 1.2 years for existing buildings.  Additionally, the median non-energy benefits offset 49% of the commissioning costs, improving the payback period; examples of such included improved overall functionality of building systems, reduced contractor call-backs, and increased occupant comfort – all of which have a direct impact on the bottom line.  

In my experience, commissioning fees on new construction were generally offset by cost avoidance and design miscues identified during design review and site walk-thrus.  Thus the resultant improved building performance and efficiency gains became icing on the cake whose benefits were realized year-over-year through increased productivity and lower operations cost.  Retro-commissioning (RCx), that is commissioning of existing buildings and systems, generally returned energy savings of at least 15% to 20+% with paybacks of a year and a half or less; couple such savings with potential utility incentives and these projects could be funded directly out of a facility’s O&M budget.

Below are some resources that will help to better explain Cx, RCx, and On-Going Cx (OCx):

Lowering Utility Costs and Increasing Facility Performance through Commissioning and Retro- Commissioning as published in the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of IFMA’s Facility Management Journal

On-Going Commissioning – Leveraging Technology to Ensure Efficient Operations

Stretching the Club Maintenance Dollar as published in Fall 2016 edition of Club Management

Facility Management Program Assessment & Development