Commissioning is a thorough engineering analysis of the performance and operation of the systems of a building or other major asset. For buildings, commissioning includes assessing lighting systems and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning).
The methodical process reduces energy use, improves the quality of indoor air, meets the needs of the occupants, and ensures building performance. It occurs during the process of constructing a new building, in existing buildings, and with systems that are newly installed so as to maintain efficiency over time. If you are unsure of whether commissioning is right for you, a number of different sources, from ThinkProgress to Washington State University, argue that it can be essential.
There are three types of commissioning, including building commissioning, retro commissioning, and re-commissioning. Through building commissioning, a new building undergoes an intensive quality assurance process that starts with design and continues during construction, operations, and occupancy. Retro commissioning improves the system function and equipment of an existing building. Re-commissioning occurs when a building that has already been commissioned undergoes another commissioning process. This process is broken down into a series of steps based on the type of commissioning being done.
Example – For a new building:
Step One – Beginning the process: Choose the building profile that you will use to determine optimal levels for your internal systems. This will help you prioritize funding to get the best results for your efforts.
Step Two – Assessment and analysis of the building: Document all the information about the building (design, maintenance, construction, and operations), and carry out field studies to identify occupant concerns and use patterns.
Step Three – Evaluating the systems: By performing detailed building systems analysis and testing, you can identify the deficiencies that exist in the building, which can be dealt with to allow for more efficient operation. Identifying the opportunities for energy conservation measures will result in more efficient operation of the building for years to come.
Step Four – Implementing changes: Performing energy conservation measures, including both simple adjustments and major facility upgrades that were identified in Step Three.
Step Five – Application of continuous commissioning: Monitor the new energy conservation measures and the other equipment in the building. Schedule system operations for the needs of the occupants and optimize the efficiency of the system while reducing the energy use.
How it can help:
Commissioning will ensure the building staff are able to correctly maintain and operate the equipment and systems in the building. It will also ensure that the building performs according to your expectations.
If it is an existing building, any problems that may have been negatively affecting your business as a result of the deficiencies of the building will likely be solved through proper commissioning. For example, the building may have developed some problems with its water supply pipes that may be affecting your business. This can be solved during the commissioning process.
You will also be able to understand how the lighting, mechanical equipment, related controls, and the building envelope work together.Reducing your energy expenses is essential, and something that is focused on during the commissioning process. Any sub-optimal systems will be identified and replaced. Issues such as excessive water and airflow problems that lead to energy waste will be solved.
Commissioning also improves the work environment of your business by ensuring that there is adequate air circulation, lighting, and proper temperature controls.
Commissioning results in increased profitability for the owners of the building by reducing the operating expenses. This leads to a quicker return on investment and is something that will have effects for years to come. Not only will you have higher profitability, you will also be able to help improve working conditions by making your building operate more efficiently.