Types of Commissioning
Several commissioning types exist to address the specific needs of equipment and systems across both new and existing buildings. The following commissioning types provide a good overview.
New Building Commissioning
New building commissioning happens during the design and construction of new facilities. The process ensures that systems and equipment in new buildings operate properly. This is done through design reviews, functional testing, system documentation, and operator training.
Federal agencies should consider new building commissioning when building new facilities or undergoing major facility renovations. The process is best implemented through all phases of construction.
Re-Commissioning and Retro-Commissioning
Re-commissioning and retro-commissioning both cover the practice of commissioning existing buildings. The process includes testing and adjusting building systems to meet original design intent and/or optimize systems to satisfy shifting operational needs. Re-commissioning and retro-commissioning rely on building and equipment documentation along with functional testing to optimize performance.
Re-commissioning is ideal to tune- buildings that have already been commissioned. The process brings building performance back to its original design intent and operational efficiency. Federal agencies should consider re-commissioning for relatively new buildings that were commissioned during construction, but have experienced increased energy needs.
Retro-commissioning is ideal for older facilities that have never been through the commissioning process. Federal agencies should consider retro-commissioning if facility systems are old, expensive to operate, and experiencing a lot of equipment failures.
Continuous commissioning™ is an ongoing process designed to resolve operating problems, improve comfort, optimize energy use, and identify retrofits for existing facilities. The approach is integrated into a facility's standard O&M program with commissioning activities completed on an ongoing basis.
Continuous commissioning is the most costly commissioning approach for existing buildings due to necessary staff and equipment allocations. However, the process can identify equipment inefficiencies as they occur, allowing for quick remediation and greater energy and cost savings.
Continuous commissioning is ideal for facilities with building automation systems, advanced metering systems, and well-run O&M programs. Federal agencies should consider continuous commissioning for large and complex facilities with a metering system and a preventive maintenance program that have high energy consumption and tenant complaints.
Value re-commissioning focuses on the most common opportunities that carry the shortest payback period. These opportunities are then incorporated into daily O&M procedures. It is the least comprehensive form of commissioning and requires the least specialized skill set. Because of this, it is often the lowest-cost option for Federal facilities.
Value re-commissioning is ideal for buildings where resources for structured re-commissioning or continuous commissioning are not available. In addition, value re-commissioning can often be used to justify funding requests for more robust commissioning approaches.