Retrocommissioning Can Reveal Opportunities for Energy Savings

  May 24, 2012

I'm Steve Schuster, associate editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is retrocommissioning.

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.

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 different 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 is 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.


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