All Systems Go!
Over the last 50 years, the building industry has made revolutionary changes. Advances in technology and design have greatly improved building comfort and significantly reduced energy consumption. Modern building systems have cut power requirements in half. And the use of such technologies as variable air volume systems and building automation have become common practice, with digital controls increasingly replacing pneumatics.
These advances have increased the importance of proper operational practices to achieve the efficiency potential of HVAC systems. Most existing buildings can immediately reduce energy consumption by up to 50 percent and realize a return on investment in as little as six months to two years.
At McKinstry, and across the building industry, commissioning has emerged as an essential part of project delivery and a preferred method for ensuring that building systems are installed and operated to provide maximum performance.
New Building Commissioning and Advanced Commissioning
Benefits of commissioning include reduced energy use, lower operating costs, reduced contractor callbacks, better building documentation, improved occupant productivity, and verification that the systems perform in accordance with the owner’s project requirements.
McKinstry provides independent commissioning services of its own projects and peer reviewed projects to verify that a building’s energy related systems are installed, calibrated, and perform according to the owner’s project requirements, basis of design, and construction documents.
Enhanced building commissioning initiates the commissioning process early during the design process and executes additional activities after systems performance verification is completed.
Prior to the start of the construction documents phase, an independent commissioning authority leads, reviews, and oversees the completion of all commissioning process activities, including the commissioning design review of the owner’s project requirements, basis of design, and design documents prior to the mid-construction documents phase.
After being commissioned, building performance generally declines after two to five years. Recommissioning is a service that can be used to return a building to its peak performance.
McKinstry designers have a deep understanding of why performance wanes and how design decisions affect building operation efficiencies.
Existing Building Commissioning/Retrocommissioning
Retrocommissioning optimizes system operation and control in existing buildings that were not previously commissioned. Retrocommissioning has the greatest promise for substantially reducing energy consumption.
Monitoring key technologies is essential to maintaining optimum system performance, yet is typically beyond the owner’s capacity. Operational staff can input utility information, but engineering knowledge is required to calculate performance.
Ongoing commissioning maintains long-term savings through the continued monitoring of energy savings with follow-up commissioning, as needed. The results include improved system reliability and building comfort through optimization of system operation and control schedules based on actual building conditions.
Commissioning agents are independent of a project’s design and construction management. McKinstry’s designated commissioning authorities lead, review, and oversee the completion of commissioning processes and activities.
McKinstry’s commissioning agents develop and incorporate commissioning requirements into construction documents, develop and implement a commissioning plan, verify the installation and performance of the systems to be commissioned, and complete a summary commissioning report.
Commissioning process activities can include the following energy-related systems, at a minimum:
- Heating, ventilating, air conditioning, refrigeration systems (mechanical and passive), and associated controls
- Lighting and daylighting controls
- Domestic hot water systems
- Renewable energy systems (wind, solar, etc.)
McKinstry will also evaluate plumbing systems, building envelope systems, and other systems in the scope of the commissioning plan as appropriate.
The building envelope is an important component of a facility that impacts energy consumption, occupant comfort, and indoor air quality. Owners can receive significant financial savings and reduced risk of poor indoor air quality by including building envelope commissioning.
- Ensure building performance from the start
- Maintain system performance for the long haul
- Enhance building health and sustainability
- Reduce energy consumption