Common Sense Solutions to a Common Problem

One of the most cost-effective means of improving energy efficiency is through the practice of building commissioning.  Building  
Commissioning is a process where all the building subsystems are verified to work according to how they were designed by the engineers and architects as well as in accordance with the owner’s requirements. Sounds like common sense, however this practice is not common.

Today’s building designs require that systems become more integrated. Commissioning should be thought of as a holistic quality assurance process to optimize the HVAC, electrical, plumbing, fire/life safety, lighting and others for comfort, reliability, safety and efficient energy consumption. Deficiencies in one system can directly affect the performance of others. A study conducted in 2011 by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory identified more than 10,000 specific deficiencies across one-third of the sample for which data were available. Correcting these problems resulted in 16% median wholebuilding energy savings in existing buildings and 13% in new construction, with payback times of 1.1 years and 4.2 years, respectively.

Obvious benefits for building owners who invest in commissioning are:

  • Increased Comfort/productivity
  • Reduction in utility costs
  • Continuous Occupancy
  • Warranty enforcement
  • Reduced construction time
  • Occupant/tenant satisfaction
  • Enhanced equipment life
  • Reduced maintenance costs

Not attending to system design problems can cause:

  • Discomfort
  • Eroded productivity, absenteeism
  • Indoor air quality problems
  • Premature equipment failure
  • Litigation
  • Excessive energy and construction costs
  • Occupant Safety concerns
  • Security concerns

What makes our approach to building commissioning different?  In a word, details.  Our approach to commissioning is consistently effective at optimizing systems design and functionality, leading directly to real savings. When it comes to mechanical systems, small often overlooked issues in both existing buildings and new construction can add up quickly resulting in wasted energy and wasted dollars. As the owner’s representative, your commissioning experts should seamlessly integrate with any Architectural and Engineering (AE) firm to ensure proper system performance. Whether systems were installed two days ago or 25 years ago, a qualified commissioning provider (CxP) has the expertise to identify a variety of system inefficiencies. From a central steam or chiller plant to an individual pneumatic relay, we analyze every facet of a building’s energy profile to craft a comprehensive energy strategy.

Where Do We Start?

Commissioning should be considered an enhancement to design and not a critique. As the CxP, SEA assumes the role of a proactive partner to minimize risks associated with system design, delivering a properly functioning facility. A commissioning partner should be involved from the start on new construction projects to ensure that proper functional testing is performed to meet desired building performance. For retrocommissioning or commissioning of existing buildings, commissioning allows for an opportunity to provide a system “check-up,” to identify potential system failures and preventative maintenance.

The list of clients we have collaborated with to produce significant energy savings includes companies from all market sectors. Our experts have been integral partners on educational, commercial, industrial, transportation, hospitality and federal projects. A properly commissioned project should take a comprehensive building approach, ensuring that all of the goals spelled out in the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) or Current Facility Requirements (CFR) are addressed. Systems that target goals associated with energy and water conservation, occupant comfort, tolerances, warranty issues, sustainability (LEED) and environmental concerns are investigated to assure the specifications meet all design objectives.

Contact one of our experts today to discuss how we can assist in meeting your facility’s full potential.