Retrocommissioning Case Study

  May 8, 2008

I’m Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s topic is, retrocommissioning.
Ideally, a new facility should operate efficiently according to its design. As many managers know all too well, this isn’t always the case. Consider the Maine Medical Center Research Institute.
When Roger Boyington, the institutes’ director of engineering services, and his department took control of the in 2000, the facility was brand new. The problem was, it did not operate the way a new facility should. Instead, it was wasting energy and driving up utility costs like a building in need of repair.
So, four years after construction crews turned over the research facility, Boyington and a team of in-house technicians and outside consultants decided to retrocommission it, hoping to eliminate operating inefficiencies and improve the bottom line.
Boyington and his team had to identify both low-cost and no-cost retrofits related to the building’s components and the unavoidable, more expensive upgrades. The team focused its attention on the building’s HVAC and lighting systems, and the organization has reduced energy use and lowered utility costs. The maintenance and engineering department’s proactive approach helped eliminate inefficiencies that only would have worsened as the building aged.
The retrocommissioning process began in spring 2004, and the medical center completed the retrofits associated with the project in spring 2005. Since the completion of the project, the research institute has realized substantial savings in energy use and costs. In fact, energy use overall is down 10 percent.
Here are annual savings related to natural gas, electricity and water:
• The institute’s research facility has cut down on natural-gas use by 2.5 million cubic feet, generating $28,600 in savings.
• The building has reduced its water and sewer consumption by 1.1 million gallons, saving $7,000.
• Finally, the organization has reduced electricity use by 250,000 kilowatts, saving $30,000.


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