Design Brief: Building Commissioning

August 1, 2002
 
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Related External Links Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Motor Challenge Information Clearinghouse Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) In projects all over the country, building-industry professionals are finding that commissioned buildings are more energy efficient, more comfortable, and easier to maintain.

Commissioning is a quality-assurance process that increases the likelihood that a new building will meet the client's expectations. Although commissioning originally was created to ensure that HVAC systems were properly specified and installed, this process can be applied to virtually any building system.

Projects all over the country have demonstrated that commissioned buildings are more energy efficient, more comfortable, and easier to maintain.

The commissioning process encompasses the entire design and construction process:

  • During the design phase, commissioning begins with the selection of a commissioning agent - who helps ensure that the project documentation reflects the designer's and owner's intentions.
  • Next, the designer incorporates commissioning requirements into the design specifications.
  • During construction, the commissioning agent is responsible for inspecting the building.
  • When the project is near completion, the commissioning agent and contractors conduct rigorous performance tests.


At the end of the commissioning process, the designer and vendors train the building operators how to properly operate and maintain the building.

Commissioning a new building typically costs about 30 to 90 cents per square foot. Usually this is offset by reduced energy costs, improved occupant comfort and productivity, and reduced "rework" costs. On average, the simple payback for building commissioning is about three to four years.

 
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