Task 05-06. Commissioning and Re-commissioning Program
Commissioning (Cx) a building or systems within a building (e.g. decentralized heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems) is a method of reducing risk by ensuring that proper systems operation is achieved for the building owner. In essence, the building owner gets what he paid for in the design intent documentation. This is ensured through verifying that the design intent is satisfied before and during the construction process. Functional performance testing of buildings systems serves as the validating step prior to owner occupancy.
Retro-commissioning (RCx) occurs after construction and occupancy, as an independent process. The focus of RCx projects is typically high energy-using systems such as mechanical equipment, with the goal of:
- Minimizing operational costs by returning equipment to design intent specifications, and
- Maximizing operational benefits and equipment longevity by implementing a proper operations and maintenance program.
Though the benefits of Cx and RCx protocols in the literature are numerous, they are principally anecdotal. For example, based on energy savings alone, for an investment of 5 to 43 cents per square foot, commissioning existing buildings delivered simple paybacks that rarely exceeded 4 years—and were often 2 years or less .
As a first step, experts will be interviewed and literature reviewed in order to compare existing and emerging commissioning practices. Next, available building simulation and other quantitative modeling tools will be utilized to identify potential Cx/RCx energy savings and life cycle costs as a function of climate type, building type, and space type (occupancy density), etc. Work will then be directed to education of the market with respect to the Cx/RCx opportunities identified using a three-stage approach: development of educational briefing materials; targeted training seminars for A/E firms and mechanical equipment sales/installation/service firms. All educational materials will be laid out in a “training-the-trainer” format that would allow another instructor to pick up and present the seminar. Finally, a technical paper will be developed and presented to ASHRAE or other pertinent professional society. This paper will present the results of the Cx/RCx work completed by the NCEMBT.
This project is being executed by the Energy Resources Center (ERC) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). The Principal Investigator is Michael Chimack.
This project will be initiated January 1, 2006 and is scheduled to be completed in 15 months.