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HVAC system Commissioning is a critical part of any successful facility design and construction project. Too often this critical portion of a facility start-up is passed on to an entity that does not have the owner’s true interests in mind. A properly executed Commissioning plan, executed by an independent 3rd party professional, will ensure that the HVAC system was installed per the construction documents and that all system components are indeed functional. Better comfort and improved efficiency, as well as reducing change-orders and warranty claims, are the prime reasons that a Commissioning process will have immediate economic payback. Full documentation and maintenance staff training will also help to minimize operating costs for the life of the system.

Factors that have brought Commissioning into the spotlight include increasing system complexities and interdependencies, added focus on indoor air quality, and continued downward pressure on design and construction costs. The Commissioning process developed and employed by Energy-Environment-Economics is a proactive, systematic and collaborative effort designed to ensure that all building systems perform interactively according to the designer's intent and the owner's operational needs. We draw upon the collective expertise of the members of our firm to achieve superior Commissioning services.

A well thought-out and applied Commissioning program more than pays for itself through improved pre-construction coordination/communication. This translates into a reduction in costly change orders, while maintaining the project's construction schedule. Ongoing operational benefits include optimization of energy use, improved documentation and more thorough training of building staff. Ultimately, Commissioning is part of a sustainable design approach because it aids in the construction of a building that possesses the lowest life cycle cost of ownership. Key factors which we feel help to ensure the success of our Commissioning services program include:

Early Adoption
The benefits of Commissioning can only be fully realized if the Commissioning Agent (CA) is retained at the planning phase of a project. This helps to ensure necessary funding and the full integration of Commissioning into the project through the buy-in of all stakeholders (owner, architect, engineer, construction manager, etc.).

Collaborative Approach
The CA is focused on solving problems as part of a team approach to successful completion of the project. The ability of this person to conduct the detailed QA/QC processes in ways which complement other team members' activities during project design and construction is crucial.

Technical Skills
Because of the holistic approach taken toward Commissioning and the focus on performance-based outcomes, the CA must possess both a solid foundation in engineering design principles, as well as extensive operational experience with complex building systems such as HVAC and Building Automation Systems. Our staff is highly skilled in the requisite disciplines of Control Systems and Test and Balance, skills we deem absolutely vital for Commissioning today's complex systems.

Operator Training
The CA plays an important role in assuring that personnel responsible for the efficient operation of the facility are properly equipped for their tasks. Activities include the development and implementation of operator training early in the construction phase and the compilation and dissemination of comprehensive system manuals. Such manuals typically include as-built design documents, O & M manuals, results of functional performance testing and the final Commissioning report. Owner representation during functional performance testing is also beneficial.

Commissioning of Mechanical and Electrical systems is a core competency of Energy-Environment-Economics

Traditional Commissioning Activities

  • Review of construction documents
  • Assure owner’s intent is communicated to and understood by all relevant parties
  • Develop a Commissioning specification
  • Develop a Commissioning planning document that includes: identifying team members, their roles and responsibilities. Would also include an overview of the Commissioning process and protocols
  • Facilitate regularly scheduled Commissioning team meetings
  • Develop the final Commissioning plan including field inspection forms, startup forms, and functional test forms
  • Perform field inspections of items being commissioned
  • Witness startup of equipment being commissioned
  • Perform a control system point-to-point communication verification
  • Verify Test and Balance procedures and protocols
  • Develop and witness the functional performance tests (FPT’s)
  • Assist the owner’s representative in developing Commissioning schedules
  • Provide periodic Commissioning report including deficiencies and recommended remedies
  • Facilitate owner training and project turnover

Commissioning and Continuous CommissioningSM are undoubtedly invaluable tools for identifying and correcting errors and omissions related engineering, application and installation problems. In our estimation, Continuous CommissioningSM is commissioning taken to a higher - a 2nd - level, as evidenced by the superior results. Energy-Environment-Economics offers a third-tier level of commissioning: OptimissioningSM







“A well thought-out and applied commissioning program can pay for itself through improved pre-construction coordination/communication. This coordination translates into a reduction in costly change orders, while maintaining (at worst) and more than likely accelerating the project's construction schedule".

"The Washington State University Cooperative Extension Energy Program cites that, "experience has shown that a building which is not commissioned will cost 8 to 20 percent more to operate than a commissioned building."



      Copyright Energy Environment Economics - 2003