With rising energy prices and the increasing drive to reduce our carbon footprint, many building owners and managers have turned to the retrocommissioning process to optimize their facility’s existing equipment and systems.
However, not all retrocommissioning is equal. Typically consisting of a high-level review of the facility’s operating methods and equipment sampling, Process Retrocommissioning more closely resembles an ASHRAE Level II Energy Audit and presents the building owner with a report of deficiencies to be corrected in order to improve building performance.
Alternatively, Technical Retrocommissioning (TRCx) seeks to diagnose and correct operational deficiencies, reduce energy waste associated with building systems, and, upon project completion, provide building owners and operators with energy systems optimized for the current building operation.
TRCx is rooted in data acquisition and analysis. The typical TRCx process begins by installing dataloggers throughout the facility to trend key operational parameters such as temperature, humidity, light intensity, and amperage. This data is used in conjunction with building automation system trending, pressure measurements, and utility data to establish a baseline for the building’s operation and energy usage. Trending continues throughout the TRCx process to observe changes in operational and environmental conditions. Finally, monitoring of utility meter data following TRCx validates energy performance improvements.
Commissioning specialists utilize equipment that allows them to interface with controls systems by various manufacturers in order to correct sensor measurement, calibrate terminal units, tune control loops, and perform functional testing to evaluate system performance. In many cases, commissioning specialists have been able to revise the existing sequence of operations or implement a new sequence, to optimize equipment operation and reduce energy waste with little to no capital investment by the owner.
TRCx typically includes training of operations and maintenance (O&M) staff. The O&M staff benefits from in-depth classroom instruction that includes basic engineering principles, psychometrics, and proper maintenance techniques, as well as hands on training by assisting the commissioning engineers during the site investigation. By assisting in the field, the O&M staff learns proper troubleshooting practices and gains experience with the building management system, prolonging the corrective measures taken during the TRCx effort.
Since 1971, the National Environmental Balancing Bureau (NEBB) has established a reputation as the premier international certification association for firms that deliver high performance building systems. Through training and certifications, NEBB Certified Professionals are recognized by the industry as specialists having the skills and knowledge to measure the efficiency of building systems and create customized solutions for building owners. As the only association to offer certification in Retrocommissioning, Retrocommissioning Certified Professionals must adhere to NEBB’s standards for high quality, ensuring the owner is provided with an optimized building.
A TRCx report is provided to the owner following the TRCx process. The report details the deficiencies discovered, corrective actions that specialists made to improve the building operations, and recommendations for future energy conservation measures.
Recommendations provided in the report are supported by construction cost estimates, potential energy savings calculations, and a simple return on investment to assist the owner in making educated