Sat Sep 16 2023
The Benefits of Energy Retro-Commissioning for Commercial Buildings
Buildings, while they can withstand the tests of time, aren’t going to stick around forever. For every year that passes, the components within them start to wear out. Eventually, it will come to a point where the building’s owner needs to step in and apply repairs. One of the best solutions for keeping long-standing buildings intact is retro commissioning.
In this article, we’ll explore what is energy retro-commissioning. Then we’ll explore how it can benefit commercial buildings.
What is Retro-Commissioning?
Before we head over to the main topic, let’s understand first what Retro-Commissioning is. So, retro-commissioning is a process that assesses building systems to see if they work as intended. The assessment of factors in the original design and specifications of the structure. Aside from that, it also addresses any changes that occurred since the building’s construction.
Be aware that retro-commissioning services are characterized by knowledge and labor-heavy steps. Despite the intensive knowledge and labor required, the material costs can be either minimal or none. Also, retro-commission can open opportunities for structural improvements - some examples are retrofits and upgrades to equipment.
The Benefits of Energy Retro-Commissioning
Your commercial space can benefit greatly from energy retro-commission services. That’s because this process will ensure that they save a lot of energy in the long run. With that said, let’s explore in detail how this service can enhance energy efficiency for commercial structures.
1. Better Indoor Air Quality
Take note that if your commercial space doesn’t have the right ventilation, its indoor air quality could plummet. The insides of your building could become too muggy or hot for your team to handle. However, through retro-commissioning; you can see whether the HVAC system is working well. Also, you can get a clearer image of your building’s humidity levels.
On top of that, the services will help you in improving the indoor air quality. That’s through improving your commercial space’s ventilation and adding humidity controls.
2. Optimal Temperature Comfort
In connection with the first benefit, maintaining temperature control in your building can lower energy bill costs. An example is a well-optimized HVAC system that circulates cooled air around the building. It will keep your workers comfortable during the warm parts of the year. Whereas during the cold months, hot air is circulated to keep everyone warm and comfy.
Through retro-commissioning, you also prevent hot or cold spots within the building. Thus, everyone who is working within your commercial space is comfortable wherever they go.
3. Promotes Productivity and Safety
Retro-commissioning your commercial space also promotes both productivity and safety. When your workers are comfortable working within your building, they become more productive. Also, through optimal lighting, workers can concentrate better on their tasks. Gone are the days when they were distracted by dim or intense lights or flickering lighting.
In addition to that, fewer accidents will happen. That means your workers are less likely to trip on something along the way. Or in some cases, stumble downstairs by accident.
4. Extends your Equipment’s Expected Lifespan
Be aware that systems such as HVAC or lighting will have a lower lifespan if maintained poorly. For example, if an HVAC system operates non-stop, it will wear down faster. As a result, you will have to replace that system at some point which will cost you a lot. In comparison, retro-commissioning allows you to maintain the same HVAC unit with little to no costs.
Retro-commissioning services will assist you in ensuring that the systems will be functional for years to come. It also ensures that you won’t have to make premature replacements of parts, thus maximizing efficiency.
5. Lesser Need for Repairs or Warranty Claims
Take note that when your equipment gets frequent repairs or warranties, it’s a sign that it needs evaluation. Also, the more you repair your systems, the more money you end up throwing into the sink. It’s best advised that you seek out retro-commissioning services to lessen the frequency of repairs.
How is Energy Retro-Commissioning Conducted?
Now that you’re familiar with the benefits of energy retro-commissioning, let’s understand how the process goes. There are typically five phases that retro-commissioning covers. Here they are as listed:
1. The Planning Phase
The first phase of retro-commissioning covers the pre-screening of various parts of your commercial space. The servicemen will conduct a pre-screening of your energy and water usage. They’ll also assess your HVAC systems to see if they have any problems. They’ll also check the air and lighting quality of your business space.
Aside from those, the crew will check the age of your equipment and the size of the building you occupy. After that, they’ll formulate a retro-commissioning plan that suits your building.
2. Investigation and Creation of Findings
The second step in retro-commission covers documentation. The retro-commissioners will conduct diagnostic tests across your building’s systems. They’ll see whether your power, water, and HVAC are working as intended. They will list down any important details in a master list of findings - this will include issues that they’ll resolve.
Be aware that this phase also covers a few low-cost repairs. So, if ever there are parts of your building that need minor fixes, they’ll have it covered for you.
3. Implementation of Plan
The third phase in retro-commissioning your business space involves putting the plan in motion. The necessary steps that the servicemen will apply to your building depend on their previous findings. The team will choose either operational or capital improvements through either contractors or in-house staff.
Take note that during this phase, they will test the improvements implemented to see if they work for your systems. They’ll form a summary report afterward.
4. Verification Phase
The last step of the retro-commissioning workflow is verification. The servicemen will install recorders and monitoring equipment inside your building. These can be utility meters, thermostats, and the like. They’ll also present the summary report to you at this point. The summary report will cover the following items:
- Master list of their findings within your business space
- An up-to-date estimate of your building’s expected energy cost savings
- Results or outcomes of their applied improvements.
- Results of tested components that were added to your business space
- Suggested frequency of re-commissioning your building
- Documentation of the processes
1. How frequently should I Retro-commission my commercial building?
It depends on the assessment of the servicemen that conducted retro-commission services on your business space.
2. Does Retro-commissioning ensure that I replace my systems less often?
Yes, it does. The team that will assess your systems will check whether they need replacing or can still be usable. In the case of the latter, they’ll conduct services that could prolong its operating lifespan.
3. Is Retro commissioning going to benefit my workers?
Yes, it will benefit your workers. By retro-commissioning the working systems inside your business space - you promote safety and productivity. In the case of the former, fewer accidents will happen. As for the latter, lighting ensures that they can see their work or tasks easily.
4. How does Retro-commissioning help me save money for my business space?
Retro-commissioning ensures that you’ll spend less on energy and utility bills. Also, through their services, your equipment will last longer. Thus, you’ll have less expensive investments in replacing HVACs and the like.
5. Where do Retro-commissioners source their materials for use in services?
They source materials through contractors or an in-house staff working with them. These key individuals will provide them with the items crucial in completing services for your business space.
Keep your Business Space Nice and Comfy through Energy Retro-Commissions
Retro-commissioning your energy and utility usage is important as it ensures everything is working as intended. That aside, these services will ensure that they will also operate for longer periods than expected. They’ll also lend you a hand in improving your workspace’s quality by making your workers feel comfortable.
That aside, a successful retro-commissioning means you’ll be saving more money. You’ll spend less on repairs and replacing your systems. So, if you need to check whether your business space is still in good shape, look for a retro-commissioning service to help you.