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What's the most important thing to keep an eye on when you're considering or undergoing commissioning or retrocommissioning?
These are typically the result of an energy audit. So the work that is to be done on the building systems already has been decided. Now you have to make sure it is done correctly. The key is to know what you’re going to do and how to get it done in the most cost-effective manner.
If you’ve used an outside audit team, they should be able to write the specifications, make design drawings if necessary, and follow up on the work as it is being done. They also may be able to help you choose the contractors who will bid the project, analyze the bids, and act as Project Manager. If the audit was done internally, some of these roles may have to be contracted out.
When the project is complete you will want to verify that it is functioning as expected day after day, month after month, and year after year. You should consider “continuous commissioning.” If you’re spending money on retrofits to save energy costs, doesn’t it make sense to monitor those retrofits on a continuous basis?
Remember to include your people and your tenants in the process. The best projects can fail if the occupants of the building aren’t made aware of what’s going on — and don’t buy into it.
Also think about “dashboards” so the building occupants, as well as the building engineers and maintenance personnel, know what’s going on every day relative to energy and water usage.
Answers provided by James L. Newman, CEM, LEED AP, ASHRAE OPMP & BEAP, owner/managing partner of Newman Consulting Group, LLC, consultants for energy efficient and sustainable buildings. The firm has extensive experience with audit, upgrades and energy efficiency performance improvements in existing buildings. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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