Commissioning is the systematic process of verifying that a building’s systems operate per the owner’s project requirements. Possibly one of the most underappreciated, but unassuming and cost effective ways to achieve peak efficiency in buildings is through effective Commissioning (Cx) and it’s many variants. As a certified Commissioning Provider and Commissioning Authority (CxA) by the AABC Commissioning Group (ACG) and Certified Building Enclosure Commissioning Process Provider (BECxP) from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, Drake Integrations offers the following commissioning services:
California Building Energy Efficiency Standards require CALGreen Commissioning on any newly constructed nonresidential building over 10,000 square feet. Closely related to the Title 24 Acceptance Test requirements, commissioning involves functional testing during construction, but also includes activities during design that will ensure the building systems and associated controls will meet the owner’s energy and operating efficiency goals.
The following design review certificates of compliance are required for all newly constructed nonresidential projects (based on complexity):
In addition to the compliance forms, the following are required to document and facilitate the commissioning process:
USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) v4 New Construction (NC) rating system calls for "Fundamental Commissioning & Verification – EAp1" as a prerequisite for any project greater than 20,000 square feet seeking LEED certification. New fundamental commissioning tasks added in LEED v4 include bringing a CxA on board before the design development phase is complete, design reviews mid-design phase, inclusion of envelope systems in the OPR, BOD and design reviews, plumbing systems to include pumps and controls, electrical distribution and service testing, and a Facility Requirements and Operations and Maintenance Plan.
"Enhanced Commissioning – EAc1" provides an additional 2-6 points on a LEED project. Enhanced Commissioning is intended to ensure the CxA is involved early in the design phase for design and submittal reviews, ensures maintenance and operator system manuals and training are completed, and schedules a site visit 8-10 months post-occupancy to review and document the operating conditions of the building. For LEED v4, new tasks to achieve Enhanced Commissioning include development of an On-Going Commissioning Plan, Monitoring Based Commissioning, and/or Envelope Commissioning into the scope of work.
USGBC LEED v4 Operations and Maintenance – Existing Building (EBOM) includes 3 points for Energy & Atmosphere Credit: Ongoing Commissioning. The Ongoing Commissioning process includes planning, point monitoring, system testing, performance verification, corrective action response, ongoing measurement, and documentation to proactively address operating problems in the systems being commissioned.
Outside of LEED requirements, "re-commissioning" of an existing building takes place if the building systems had previously been commissioned when construction was completed. Re-commissioning is known to provide significant benefits as operating conditions and practices can change over time. Often, this is simply due to changeover in operating staff, though it also could be that staff has taken it upon itself to make adjustments, for expediency or otherwise, that are not in best interests of optimal overall operation.
Monitoring-Based Commissioning (MBCx) is a comprehensive program to monitor, trend, and analyze your building’s energy and performance data to create actionable and quantifiable energy conservation measures. Using energy management trending and diagnostic tools and building modeling software, Building Engineers will better understand the building’s day to day performance and be given feedback on deficiencies in the system. Issues can be addressed as they occur or be included in a longer term plan for capital improvements. MBCx provides a highly-cost effective way to achieve significant energy savings compared to a one-time or occasional commissioning project.
Commissioning in an existing building is "retro-commissioning" if the building had never been commissioned before. This form of commissioning provides similar benefits as Re-Commissioning, but often times finds fundamental design and/or installation issues.
Building Envelope Commissioning (BECx) has become increasingly more popular with the recent inclusion in the LEED v4 Enhanced Commissioning credits. The design and construction of building enclosures has become a focus to ensure the envelope is coordinated with other energy performance systems to increase the overall energy efficiency of the building. The building thermal envelope entails all wall assemblies separating a building’s conditioned spaces from outdoor ambient conditions, including: roof assemblies, vapor barriers, diffusion retarders, air barrier systems, rain-screen layers, flashings, cladding and siding, windows, curtain-wall assemblies, doors, thermal bridges, and utility penetrations, such as piping, electrical conduit, duct-banks, and other entry-points made for routing of HVAC system components.
Drake Integrations utilizes CxAlloy to maximize efficiency in the commissioning process for the Owner, General Contractor, Subcontractors, and Testing Technicians. From design issues, equipment checklists, construction issues log, site observations, functional performance testing procedures with audit logs, to system manual documentation and more, this tool allows our team to communicate and monitor in real time the status of our commissioning projects with the Owner and entire design and construction team. Our clients can log in anytime to view the latest updates on the project dashboard, see number of days left before project completion, view number of outstanding issues by trade, make comments to subcontractors, upload documentation or send secure messages.
CxAlloy has enhanced our ability to keep subcontractors on task and prevent discrepancies in progress meetings on any project delays. Our clients have found this to save time and money and optimize everyone’s experience in the commissioning process.