Retro-Commissioning (RCx) or Existing Building Commissioning
Retro-commissioning (RCx) is a systematic process developed to evaluate, document, and improve the operation of base building systems. Applying a comprehensive RCx process can be a very cost effective way to identify and implement measures to reduce energy use and cost while improving system operation and occupant comfort in existing buildings. RCx may solve problems that are due to the original design and construction of the building or uncover issues that were created during operation and tenant improvements. However, an extensive process may not be appropriate for every facility. Healthy Buildings can conduct a feasibility study to be used as a tool to determine which facilities are best suited to undergo an RCx effort, and to what level. Identifying those buildings with greater opportunities allows property owners / portfolio managers to make educated business decisions on how best to allocate financial resources.
While documenting the program is an absolutely critical step in any RCx effort, Healthy Buildings believes maximum benefit is achieved through a rigorous “rubber-meets-the-road” approach rather than an “executive” level paperwork process. Detailed functional performance test procedures methodically put building equipment / systems through their operational ranges. The RCx value is maximized by Healthy Buildings’ in-house Certified Building Commissioning Professionals (CBCP) directly applying years of hands-on knowledge and experience to the systems as the test procedures are executed. However, test procedures in which systems are manipulated do not always tell the whole story. In conjunction with manual testing, building automation system (BAS) trend analysis and stand-alone data logging provide the commissioning agent with valuable information for a complete picture of system operation.
The RCx process will undoubtedly discover system issues and identify areas for improvement. As a result, RCx can become adversarial or fail to realize full potential if operators are made to feel defensive. Therefore a key component to any successful RCx program is collaboration and Healthy Buildings works very deliberately to build a team approach. In addition to facilitating the process, including operations staff provides other tangible benefits. Living with the building every day, operators are a great source of information. A deeper understanding about “why and how” system modifications are implemented by the RCx agent alleviates the response of, “well, that’s not how we’ve always done it”, and there is a much greater chance the improvements will be maintained, or improved, over time.
Maintenance is frequently regarded as an overhead cost rather than a contributor to profits. This traditional mindset is typically the direct result of the maintenance department’s limited resources to capitalize on its many opportunities to increase efficiency, maximize revenues, and improve the performance cost. We benefit our clients by improving a building’s operations and maintenance (O&M) procedures and documenting the value of the improvements achieved through process and technology in maintenance and reliability. Our depth of expertise in building systems operations, facility services, and management analysis allows us to develop a comprehensive and integrated master energy and resource plan recognizing scheduled and unplanned activities and tasks.