Is It Time to Retrocommission Your Building?
When new commercial buildings are finished, many of them will go through a process called commissioning. During commissioning, a structure is subjected to numerous tests, inspections, and assessments to ensure that all internal systems, from HVAC to plumbing, are working properly, efficiently, and in tandem with other important building systems. As buildings and interior systems age and change, this functional harmony can deteriorate, leaving the owner and tenants with a building with decreased energy efficiency, improperly functioning systems, and ineffective equipment. Retrocommissioning is a process of recommissioning your building to bring all systems and components back to their best functional capacity and efficiency, returning them to a state as close to original as possible.
What Should Recommissioning Your Building Accomplish?
Recommissioning your building provides much the same benefits as initial commissioning, except that it’s done after the building is completed and has been in service for a time. It uses the same techniques as initial commissioning to accomplish its changes and improvement. Recommissioning your building will:
- Decrease the costs of building operation through improved energy efficiency and equipment operation.
- Provide for better heating and cooling through improved HVAC system performance.
- Improve the function of building systems and equipment, both as separate systems and in connection with each other.
- Correct problems that occurred during design or construction of the building.
- Fix problems that have developed during regular use of the building by you and your tenants.
- Increase the value of the building through detailed professional testing, maintenance, and inspections that are done as part of recommissioning.
- Improve indoor air quality through improved function of HVAC systems and equipment that filters air and removes airborne particulates.
- Allow for better building operation, control, and management through professional inspection and correction of these processes.
- Reveal areas where further upgrades, renovations, or alterations can be made to increase energy efficiency and the building’s overall function.
When Should a Building be Retrocommissioned?
There is no specific point in a building’s life when it should be recommissioned. A five-year-old building that’s gone through many changes could be just as viable a candidate for recommissioning as a decades-old building that has been used for relatively consistent purposes. Sometimes even newly constructed buildings may have an imbalance of form, function, and internal systems that could be corrected by decommissioning.
Sources such as the U.S. government’s Energy Star program suggest recommissioning your building every three to five years. This helps ensure the best ongoing performance and allows for easier identification of larger-scale areas that will need attention in the future. Some of the factors that influence whether recommissioning your building is a good idea include:
- Sale of the building or an equivalent change in ownership.
- Changes in function, equipment, occupancy, or furnishings that could affect the building’s load by increasing or decreasing the amount of heating and cooling needed.
- Changes in the types of tenants or significant revisions of the layout of the inside of the building, whether through renovations or nonpermanent means.
- Increasing heating, cooling, and energy costs; noticeable energy inefficiencies; and any changes in energy consumption that cannot be easily explained or corrected.
- HVAC equipment that malfunctions more often, is short-cycling frequently, or is showing signs of energy waste and inefficient operation.
One of the major goals of retrocommissioning is increasing the structure’s energy efficiency and reducing overall operating costs and energy expenditures. If you’ve decided that it’s time to implement an official energy savings program that will be followed by all tenants throughout the building, a retrocommission will return your building’s performance to a baseline level. Remember that retrocommissioning is viable only if your building has previously been through a formal commissioning process.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information about the purpose and process of recommissioning your building and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!