Why Most Recommissioning Efforts Fail – And What Could Be Done to Make Them Successful

A Recommissiong Study is something a building owner hires an engineering firm to do to make the building to work like new again.  The goals are to lower utility bills, provide a better work environment, improve the satisfaction of the building occupants and release fewer greenhouse gases.  The method works something like this and usually costs between $0.05 and $1.00 per building square foot.

  1. The engineer doing the work compares the present operating conditions of the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to the original design values.
  2. They look at current Pressures, Airflows, Temperatures and Humidity (PATH) readings to values found on the original plans, specifications and construction documents.
  3. The difference in the actual operating (PATH) conditions and the design conditions are then monetized, which means calculating the cost of electricity and gas being wasted.
  4. Then a general solution, an energy conservation measure (ECM), is proposed to make the actual and design values match and to save the wasted energy.

Problems happen when nothing happens after the Recommissioning Report is delivered.  95% of all reports sit on the building operator’s shelf and the (ECM’s) are never implemented.  Here are the reasons why.

  1. The report is too technical and is not understood by the people running the building, so nothing is done.
  2. The Energy Conservation Measures (ECM’s) are too expensive and too difficult to implement, so nothing is done.
  3. The engineer operating the building has been ignored and their knowledge of the root of the problems has not been included in the final report, so nothing is done.
  4. No measures have been put in place in the report, which set ways to compare the utility usage and bills, to track energy conservation and gas and electric bill savings.

How do you to make Recommissioning Studies Successful?

  1. Include the building operators and engineers as an integral part of the Recommissioning Team.  Teach them collect (HVAC) – Pressures, Airflows, Temperatures and Humidity’s (PATH).
  2. Budget a certain amount of money annually to fund the Energy Conservation Measures (ECM’s).
  3. Train them on what the correct (HVAC) (PATH) should be.  Write those values on the HVAC equipment for reference purposes.
  4. Have the operating engineers be part of meetings with mechanical contractors, temperature control contractors and other vendors, where problems and solutions are discussed and the price of the corrective service is transmitted.
  5. Continue to work with the Recommissioning Provider after the report is delivered and have them direct and work with the building’s operating staff to implement energy and utility bill conservation services and track the savings.

This article was written by, David Opoien, Owner, Building Success – A Provider of Building Energy Administrative Services.  We are located at 10325 Morris Road, Suite 101, Minneapolis, MN 55437.  Cell: 612-210-1528.  Web: bldgsuccess.com.  E-Mail: dave@bldgsuccess.com.

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