Experience has shown that a building that is not commissioned will cost 8-20% more to operate than a properly commissioned building. On average, energy savings alone can pay back the cost of performing commissioning in less than 5 years. Additional savings from improved equipment lifetimes, reduced change-orders due to early problem detection, prevention of premature equipment breakdown by timely detection, reduced operation and maintenance costs and more productive building environments combine to essentially offset the entire cost of a new-building commissioning. As buildings and systems have become more complex and occupant requirements have increased, the need for commissioning is even greater. Informed building owners recognize that a high performance building gives them a competitive advantage.
A 2009 study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory concluded the top 13 faults causing energy inefficiencies in commercial buildings are:
- Duct leakage
- HVAC left on when space unoccupied
- Lights left on when space unoccupied
- Airflow distribution not properly balanced
- Improper refrigerant charge
- Dampers not working properly
- Insufficient evaporator airflow
- Improper controls setup
- Control component failure or degradation
- Software programming errors
- Improper controls hardware installation
- Air cooled condenser fouling
- Valve leakage
Owners often think they cannot afford to pay for building commissioning, but a look at the potential costs of not commissioning tells a different story.
What is Retro-Commissioning?
A building that was never properly commissioned at the start can go through a retro-commissioning. The process is similar to recommissioning, but the building usually has been in use longer. For a building that was never properly commissioned, retro-commissioning offers the most benefit in terms of opportunities for cost savings and improving energy efficiency in commercial and industrial buildings, especially schools and hospitals because of how they are used.
With SmartEdge's commissioning and retro-commissioning services, we educate the current maintenance staff on proper equipment use and maintenance. This helps ensure that systems will continue to run at maximum energy efficiency.