Understanding Building Commissioning
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Today’s tip involves building commissioning. According to the National Institute of Building Sciences, commissioned buildings use between 8 and 29 percent less energy than their non-commissioned counterparts. Most industry experts see commissioning as a no-brainer, but facility executives often see only the first cost and, therefore, commissioning doesn’t make the final budget cuts.
However, consider working up an ROI based on possible energy savings and longer equipment life. Many utilities and third-party organizations offer grants, rebates or zero-interest loans to help defray the initial cost of commissioning, as well.
There are three basic types of commissioning. The first is new-building commissioning. With new construction, many experts suggest having the commissioning agent on board as early as the schematics phase to help flesh out inconsistencies or problems in the detailed drawings, before they become problems in the built building. Commissioning is a prerequisite of LEED for New Construction, so in order to get any level of certification, the building must be commissioned.
Retrocommissioning is generally understood to mean commissioning an existing building that had never gone through the commissioning process. The idea is to bring facility equipment back into spec and to root out energy-related problems.
Recommissioning, or continuous commissioning, means commissioning a facility that already has been commissioned. Recommissioning should be done at a pre-specified interval – usually once a year or once every other year. You can earn points in LEED for Existing Buildings for a well-developed recommissioning program.
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