Recommissioning Plans

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(RCx) – Building Recommissioning Services / Identifying Utility Cost and Energy Reduction Programs and Projects

BUILDING RECOMMISSIONING helps to identify energy and cost waste in your Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) and Control systems. We have several levels of RCx Plans, based on our client’s needs. A study conducted by the Federal Government’s Energy Comparisons of the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, CBECS, US Energy Information and Administration, states that up to 75% of the energy consumed in a building is HVAC related.

RECOMMISSIONING SERVICES – What is Recommissioning? In a brand new building “Commissioning” is used to ensure correct operation of a facility’s major systems when they are first installed. “Recommissioning” is ensuring that existing building HVAC systems are restored to their original intended operating parameters. If your facility has not been Recommissioned or properly commissioned in the first place, you are spending extra money on energy costs. Recommissioning a facility targets these savings opportunities through the systematic evaluation of electrically powered systems and the subsequent implementation of no- and low-cost measures. Recommissioning can also be called optimizing your building’s performance. Optimizing means doing the best you can with what’s installed and with the staff you already have for the most economical cost. Recommissioning studies provide recommendations on how you can tune up your building. Many measures have simple paybacks of less than one year.

 Type of RCx Program & Support Services Recommissioning Reports and Project and Program Development Highlights
RCx – Level 1
  • Rapid assessment of building energy systems
  • Building energy usage and utility cost benchmarking
  • Utility Cost Savings and Cash Flow Projection Modeling
  • High-level definition of energy system optimization opportunities
  • Assessment of Operations and Maintenance Records and Record Keeping Practices
RCx – Level 2
  • Detailed building survey of building energy systems and O&M practices
  • Building energy usage and utility cost benchmarking
  • Compile the list of HVAC and Control System deficiencies
  • Review outstanding service contracts with outside vendors
  • Make suggestions on ways to improve service and or lower operating costs
  • Identification of ECOs for each energy system
  • Range of savings and costs for the ECOs
  • Spotlight Operational Discrepancies
  • Outlining priorities for limited resources, next steps
  • Identification of ECOs requiring more thorough data collection and analysis (RCx Level-3)
RCx – Level 3
  • Longer term data collection and analysis
  • Whole-building computer simulation calibrated with field data
  • Accurate modeling of ECOs and power/energy response
  • Bid-level construction cost estimating
  • Investment-grade, decision-making support


(RCx) Level 1 – Walk-Through Audit / Preliminary Assessment and Documentation:

The RCx Level 1 audit alternatively is called a “simple audit”, “screening audit” or “walk-through audit” and is the basic starting point for building energy optimization. It involves brief interviews with site operating personnel, a review of the facility’s utility bills and other operating data, a walk-through of the building during the mechanical cooling and heating seasons, finding out how you interact with your existing service contractor, what type of documentation is received and what type of internal equipment operating logs are kept. The RCX Level-1 audit is geared toward the identification of the potential for energy improvements, understanding the general building configuration, defining the type and nature of energy systems and assessing the staff’s HVAC and Control skills. The audit should result in a preliminary, high-level, energy-use/utility-cost analysis for the entire facility, and a short report detailing the findings, which may include identifying a variety of recognizable efficiency opportunities. Usually this report does not provide detailed recommendations, except for very visible projects or operational faults.

This audit also is intended to help the energy team understand where the building performs relative to its peers; establish a baseline for measuring improvements; deciding whether further evaluation is warranted; and if so, where and how to focus that effort

(RCx) Level 2 – Building Operation and Maintenance Energy Survey and Utility Cost Analysis:

The next step for most facilities is the RCx Level-2 energy survey and analysis. The Level-2 project starts with the findings of the Level-1 audit, and evaluates the building energy systems in detail to define a variety of potential energy conservation opportunities (ECOs). This should include the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC), Automatic Temperature Controls and Building Automation Systems (BAS). This study starts with a detailed analysis of energy consumption to quantify base loads, seasonal variation, and effective energy costs. From there, the study should include an evaluation of lighting, air quality, temperature, ventilation, humidity, and other conditions that may affect energy performance and occupant comfort. The process also includes detailed discussions with the building Ownership, Management, and Occupants to explore potential problem areas, and clarify financial and non-financial goals of the program.

The Level-2 audit should result in a clear and concise report and briefing with the Owner and Management Team describing a variety of Energy Efficiency Measures (ECOs) including no- and low-cost measures, modifications to system controls and building automation, operational changes, and potential capital upgrades. The findings should include general costs and performance metrics, as well as a means for the Owner to evaluate the ECOs and decide how to proceed with implementation.

Fast Payback Energy Conservation Strategies (ECO) Report

    • Find, quantify, describe, and estimate installation costs for ECOs with a one year payback

Longer Term HVAC, Controls and Retrofits (ECO) Report:

    • Identify and recommend more capital intensive investments like lighting retrofits, direct digital control change outs, HVAC retrofits
    • Identify airside and waterside systems, which require Testing and Balancing
    • Try to work with existing trusted subcontractors to estimate and propose the individual ECO projects

Customized HVAC and Controls Maintenance Program Development

    • Review outstanding service contracts with outside vendors
    • Review log sheets and contractor documentation

Request for Proposals – (RFP), Contract Review:

    • Review outstanding HVAC service contract language and documentation language
    • Make suggestions, if applicable, on ways to improve service and or lower costs
    • Make recommendations, on right sizing service work

HVAC Equipment and Systems Status and Repair Report:

    • HVAC and Controls Service Status Report
    • Identify defects in Routine Maintenance Items Like, Filters, Coils, Belts, Bearings
    • Compile the list of identified issues into a report so a mechanical contractor can price up and propose HVAC and Control Repairs

Operations and Maintenance Service Specialty Upgrades:

    • Identify operations and maintenance retrofits targeted at reducing energy consumption and labor costs


(RCx) Level 3 – Detailed Analysis of Capital Intensive Planning and Project Development:

Some of the system upgrades or retrofits revealed by the Level-2 audit may require significant investments of capital, personnel, and other limited resources. Before making this level of investment, the Owner will want to have a much more thorough and detailed understanding of the benefits, costs, and performance expectations. This is the purpose of the “investment-grade” Level-3 RCX audit. There may be only a few capital-intensive ECOs exposed by the Level-2 audit, or there may be dozens for larger facilities. Investment levels can range from tens of thousands to tens of millions of dollars. In most cases, since this cannot be clearly determined or accurately estimated in advance, the recommendation and scope definition for a Level-3 audit usually is an outcome of the Level-2 process.

The RCX Level-3 audit focuses on a “whole-building computer simulation”, where a computer program is used to very accurately model the way the brick-and-mortar building would respond to changes in the energy systems, whether those are major HVAC retrofits. The RCX Level-3 audit involves much more detailed data collection over the course of weeks or months. Data loggers typically will be placed temporarily to monitor the operation of pumps and motors, temperatures of affected spaces, lighting levels, switching behavior, and other factors. These data are used to calibrate the computer model of the facility, so that the computer model responds to inputs and changes the same way the building could be expected to respond. This calibration is checked and validated by simulating a year or more of past, minute-by-minute climate conditions to see if power and energy usage in the model mirrors actual energy power and energy usage. Once the three-dimensional computer model is responding like the real building, changes to energy systems can be simulated with very accurate results: combining that process with construction-grade cost estimating supports informed investment decisions.