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Part 4: How To Gauge Whether Retrocommissioning Was Successful
March 2014 -
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What are your best tips for ensuring a retrocommissioning process is successful? How should facility managers gauge success of a retrocommissioning process?
The first and most important factor in a successful RCx project is making sure that the owner is committed to the effort. This is evidenced early by an owner who believes in the value RCx can provide, dedicates the in house resources needed to provide the historical data necessary for the investigation (historical utility records, as-builts, TAB reports, controls trend logs, etc..), and is committed to the success form the start of the project through its completion. Even though RCx provides a quick return on investment (typically 25 percent or better), the projects usually last at least 18 months and sometimes longer. The basic reason for this is that the investigation and post implementation should span over all three seasons of the year.
Next it should be recognized that RCx is a unique field of practice which combines energy engineering, a high level of expertise in facilities operation and maintenance (with an emphasis on controls and testing/adjusting/balancing), and system design and construction experience. It is important to choose a consultant who has a team with years of experience in all of these areas. Like all projects, the specific project manager and support staff are critical to success. Choosing a consultant who has a good working relationship with local utilities that offer technical and financial resources is also prudent since they are likely to understand how to navigate the utilities programs in order to optimize the value the utilities can provide and shorten the process associated with taking advantage of their programs.
Finally, documentation, commissioning, and training related to the changes made are critical to the RCx projects success. Commissioning is of course important to verify that the new operations are working properly; and training and documentation of the new operating procedures are critical top making sure that the changes and associated savings persist over time.
The success of the project can be measured by conducting verification of results (commissioning and savings achieved), improved environmental conditions, and reduced complaints by occupants.Answers provided by Paul Banks, Principal, B2Q Associates, Inc.
Ask An Expert: Paul Banks, Retrocommissioning
Part 1: First Steps to Retrocommissioning
Part 2: Types of Equipment That Should Be Included in Retrocommissioning
Part 3: Consider Whether Design is Still Sensible During Retrocommissioning