Commissioning. Why is it beneficial?

commissioning services, engineering firm, mechanical, electrical, MEP, firme de génie conseil, firme ingénieur, firme de génie conseil

We hope you might enjoy this article. This is one of our many eco-snacks series. We will continue on the topic of the reducing energy consumption through Commissioning:

What is commissioning?

It acts as a quality assurance to makes sure that the Owner Project Requirements(OPR) are reflected in the design, construction and maintenance/operations. According to the American Society for Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), commissioning is the “quality-oriented process for achieving, evaluating and documenting that the performance of buildings, systems and assemblies meets defined objectives and criteria.” 

There exist many types of commissioning. Each one fit for a particular purpose and helping to ensure that investment reaches its intended target. Here are a few:

  • New building commissioning
  • Retro-commissioning
  • On-going commissioning

What are they? What do they involve? That is a whole new topic. We will just cover general notions. Do not worry, you will still get interesting information.

Even for high-performance buildings if expectations are not reinforced, people can switch back to energy intensive situation. That is why energy monitoring with energy goals are important. Without proper monitoring, 8% of energy savings could be lost each year.

The challenge

Maybe you came across this picture on social media. 

commissioning services, MEP engineering firm, CCTV, Access Control, Fire Alarm, HVAC, Energy Efficiency, SustainabilityWhat happened? Either lack of awareness of the necessity of implementing commissioning services to ensure project success or desire to reduce costs and time. These ingredients create the recipe for project failure. Bad design, improper construction, delayed maintenance, or equipment failure could lead the project to miss the target. The result: decrease of owner and occupant satisfaction. The implementation of commissioning services now avoids expenses and delays later. It is important to make wise decisions under pressure because using the right tools.

Generally this process yields energy savings of up to 30% with Return On Investment of 3 years or less.

Here is a little chart giving more information on the effect of not commissioning buildings.


Commissioning services, engineering firm, energy efficiency, sustainability, fire alarm, cctv, access control.

                      Existing Buildings


When commissioning services are properly executed there are many benefits to its practice:

  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Increased energy savings
  •  Reduced operating costs
  • Decrease of equipment failure
  • Equipment raised performance
  • Increased occupant thermal comfort and productivity

Commissioning on existing buildings can brings energy savings of up to 30% with Return on Investment of 3 years and less.

Case studies:

Here are few case studies showing one of the many advantages of doing commissioning.

Facility: San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina, built in 1984 and 1987; – 1,362 rooms in two 25-story towers; – 1.4 million square feet

  • Costs: $195,304
  • Simple Payback: 9 months
  • Energy cost savings: $272,500 per year
  • Percent energy savings: 8.4%

Location: San Diego, CA – Year built: 1980 – Size: 714,000 gross sq. ft. – 
Scope of retro-commissioning project: Chilled and
heating water systems, air distribution systems

Quantified Costs and Savings To-Date

  • Estimated annual kWh savings: 497,000 kWh
  • Estimated annual cost savings: $65,000
  • Total project cost: $76,600
  • Total program incentive: $52,800
  • Net owner cost: $23,800
  • Simple payback: 4 months

Acute-Care Hospital – Location: Minneapolis, MN – 600,000 square feet 

The savings from measures implemented during the project are $181,000/yr, giving a payback of 1.2 years on total project cost prior to the utility company rebate and 0.9 years after the rebate. The payback on the net external costs after rebate was 0.5 years.


Commissioning services are a quality control process to ensure that project meets its intended purpose. It provides many benefits by: reducing energy bills as well as operating costs, increasing equipment performance, reducing maintenance workload, increasing thermal comfort and productivity.

Commissioning has its own process and milestones. This allows the project to move towards the right direction.
Such a process is a team effort with a commissioning officer taking the lead. It includes the participation of:

  • Architects/Designers
  • Engineers
  •  Contractors
  •  Maintenance staff
  •  Building owners

Do you have an existing building, a current project or an upcoming project that could use commissioning services? We are here to help. At Ecovision we have consultants to help you make your project a success.

Why not reach out to us? We will be happy to discuss.

Ecovision Consultants
+1 (888) 294-8802


CA of California


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, July 21, 2009

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