Building a new facility or implementing a major renovation is a significant financial investment for the Owner. Many times the initial investment can be needlessly spent when the building systems are not operated and maintained at optimal performance levels. By commissioning the building systems, the Owner can be assured the building will consume minimal energy while providing the occupants with a high quality indoor environment. Commissioning of existing building systems is generally referred to as retro-commissioning.
Retro-commissioning of existing building systems consist of first evaluating the current performance level and then conducting subsequent actions to achieve, verify, and document performance levels. The objective of retro-commissioning is to bring the building systems performance and comfort levels within acceptable parameters and code requirements.
EFI Commissioning Services combines the concepts in ASHRAE Guideline 1-1996 The HVAC Commissioning Process and PECI Model Commissioning Plan to create our retro-commissioning plans. Our goal is for each building system to be fully functional, finely-tuned, appropriately documented, and maintained by an adequately trained Operation and Maintenance staff. The following are the phases of our retro-commissioning process including some commissioning tasks and objectives:
The evaluation phase is the benchmarking of the facility and its building systems. The evaluation includes an audit of the entire facility and the commissioning tasks include review of the existing documentation, as-built records, operating procedures, maintenance procedures and the preventive maintenance plan. Field data is gathered, equipment and components are tested, air flow effectiveness and air quality are determined, and the O&M staff and occupants are interviewed. The above information is documented including a list of deficiencies. The documentation is used to create the design intent document.
The program phase is the pre-design phase or the conceptual design phase. The objectives of this phase are to benchmark the facility using ENERGY STAR's national energy performance rating system, identify the no cost and low cost deficiencies, document the owner’s requirements, identify and assign responsibilities, develop the design intent, and prepare the commissioning plan. The commissioning authority provides technical support (such as energy savings, air quality improvements, etc.) to the Owner and recommends the most appropriate course of action. The action plan will include a benchmark energy analysis, estimated energy consumption based on proposed improvements, and an estimated return on investment.
The renovation plan is performed in steps or phases and care is taken to avoid the enhancements of one building system negatively impacting the operation of another system. The building is viewed as a whole not as multiple independent systems.
The design phase begins with the finalization of the renovation plan and preparation of schematic design documents. The renovation plan is performed in steps or phases and care is taken to avoid the enhancements of one building system negatively impacting the operation of another system. The building is viewed as a whole not as multiple independent systems. The objectives are the continued evolution of the design intent and the commissioning plan, development of the commissioning specifications, review of the contract documents and coordination of the mechanical, electrical and fire/life safety systems.
During the renovation phase the building improvements are performed, started-up and placed into operation. The objectives of the commissioning process during the construction phase is to review submittals, observe installation, conduct operations and maintenance training, confirm start-up and verify system operation.
The commissioning authority conducts the commissioning meetings and provides technical support to the contractors. The commissioning authority assists the contractor to expedite his work, minimize occupancy discomfort, and elevate the quality of the project. The building system improvements are verified in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and the system start-up is witnessed.
The objective of the acceptance phase commissioning process is to verify the building system operation, integration of the control system, compilation of the commissioning documentation and data collection.
The functional testing of the building systems determines the success of the project. The test results and the data collected will be used to measure the improvements over the benchmarked facility. Actual energy consumption and return on investments are included in the Commissioning Report.
The objective of the post-acceptance phase of the commissioning process is to maintain the performance of the building systems throughout the useful life of the facility. The commissioning authority provides technical support and an operating and maintenance plan. The plan includes the operating procedures, maintenance procedures, preventive maintenance procedures, and measurement and verification procedures to ensure optimal operation.
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