Retrocommissioning Can Reveal Opportunities for Energy Savings

By Todd Dorius  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: This PagePt. 2: Retrocommissioning Can Overcome Operational ChallengesPt. 3: Retrocommissioning Boon to Bottom Line

Over time, the operations of HVAC systems and equipment in most institutional and commercial facilities change. Sensors, valves, and other components can drift from their original settings, causing problems such as thermal discomfort and energy waste.

In some facilities, HVAC system operators have been known to alter settings to their desire or to bypass automation, due to a lack of understanding both the technology and its impact on facility conditions.

In other cases, operators might change schedules to meet a temporary need or project but never change them back. The changes can be as simple as altering an outdoor-air schedule or a temperature setting. Even though building occupants and visitors might not notice the results, the changes can have a significant impact on the facility's energy costs.

One option for maintenance and engineering managers looking to bring their facilities' energy use and overall condition and performance under control is to put key facility systems through the process of retrocommissioning.

Stages of Investigation

Retrocommissioning is related to building commissioning, a process that systematically reviews all aspects of a facility's operation, from HVAC controls to air and hydronic systems. The intent of commissioning is to have a third party verify the facility's operational goals. Managers can apply the process to facilities three differ ways, all with one goal: proper and efficient operation.

Commissioning applies to a new building, where the owner wants a verification of systems installed to confirm the operation meets the design intent. Commissioning is not always performed on a new facility, sometimes due to costs and perceptions of redundancy. In a perfect world, the facility is designed, then built as designed, and tested and balanced to perform as designed.

Recommissioning is similar to commissioning, but with the intent of confirming that a commissioned building open and operating for a number of years still operates according to its original design intent.

Retrocommissioning takes an existing facility that had never been commissioned, catalogs its systems and equipment, determines the performance goals of the facility based on current use, and develops a plan to test, verify, and make recommendations for changes in facility operation, all with the aim of reaching established goals.

Continue Reading: Retrocommissioning: Energy Efficiency

Retrocommissioning Can Reveal Opportunities for Energy Savings

Retrocommissioning Can Overcome Operational Challenges

Retrocommissioning Boon to Bottom Line

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  posted on 12/16/2011   Article Use Policy

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