By: Edgar Arevalo - Associated Renewable, Inc.
Publsihed: October 9th, 2012
Retro-commissioning is a service provided to buildings that are operating poorly, which constitutes deficient energy performance, or are in need of renovation based on its structural integrity. Retro-commissioning only applies to existing buildings that were never commissioned with performance-conscious and energy efficient features during its design phase.
With any property owner, looking to retro-commission a building is usually common when the overall performance of the building is in need of renewal. The urgency of retro-commissioning upgrades is dependent on a few key factors. These include the condition of the building’s mechanical components, compliance with a local green building law, how much work does the property need, and how much the owner is willing to financially commit.
The cost of retro-commissioning depends greatly on what is entailed in the scope of work and the intricacy of the building system. If a price range could be generated, the cost of retro-commissioning can go from $0.10 to $1.00 per square foot. Again, those numbers are only rough estimates given that the nature of the building itself is initially unknown. Property managers can benefit from utility rebates as well as other incentives from state or federal agencies to lower the cost of the project. It is important to note that retro-commission projects do have a delicate timeline in order for the work to yield optimal results in terms of energy efficiency and building performance. The client cannot speed up nor interrupt the process without good reason.
Properties that engage in retro-commissioning benefit from energy savings they will accrue as their building operates more efficiently while reducing energy consumption. Moreover, coupled with the savings benefits include the money that is returned to the client (in the form of energy savings) as well as how long building base systems last, with about one year as the payback period while energy savings stretch from 3 to 5 years. Additional improvements to interior temperature quality of the building can lead to a smaller demand of energy from its heating and cooling equipment during certain seasons of the year. Another benefit is a longer life-span of the building’s equipment as a result of the upgrades; the less likely a pipe system or boiler plant will constantly wear itself out, the more likely they can operate longer and more efficiently to service the tenants.
From an environmental standpoint, retro-commissioning results in reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; as the building operates without excessive energy usage, it will reduce further contributions associated with climate change and shrink its overall carbon footprint.
For information on retro-commissioning, proceed to: http://www.associatedrenewable.com/content/commissioning-retro-commissioning
“FAQ.” US Army Corps of Engineers. Last modified October 16, 2000. Accessed September 24, 2012 http://www.cecer.army.mil/kdsites/hvac/commissionpedia/FAQ/FAQ.pdf
Edward Sullivan. “Benefits of Retrocommissioning Quickly Pay for Costs.” FacilitiesNet. Accessed September 24, 2012 http://www.facilitiesnet.com/buildingautomation/article/Benefits-of-Retrocommissioning-Quickly-Pay-for-Costs--11178
“RETROCOMMISSIONING: What are the Benefits/Costs of Commissioning Existing Buildings? (Q & A).” energyexperts.org. Accessed September 25, 2012 http://energyexperts.org/EnergySolutionsDatabase/ResourceDetail.aspx?id=2665
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