Hidden Retrocomissioning Measures That Pay Off In Energy Savings

The image I chose for this post is poignant, because this is how I feel most of the time. There is a huge opportunity for buildings in a sea of confusion or self interest.

I originally wrote this blog back in 2011 for an amazing company that I was working for that conducted a ton of RCx. I think you could actually refer to them as the “father of the RCx industry” as a whole.

From that role, I went on to develop some of the most successful utility programs yielding millions of kWh and therm savings, and my programs are still running across the country today!

I thought I would updated, my old blog to meet todays lens into RCx.

As we peel back the many layers in a building, a commissioning (Cx) agent really gets a snapshot of how your facility is performing. When you, the property owner or chief engineer is looking at your building(s) day after day, there maybe some everyday fixes that get over looked. It’s kind of like my house; I do the obvious maintenance inside and out; but when my brother-in-law (a general contractor in Boston) visits with my sister, he walks around and tweaks everything, from the cabinets to the faucets and I feel like my house is a better house because of that. I maybe subconsciously avoiding these small tweaks because it would take me hours to do a job that it takes him seconds; primarily because it is not my expertise. Same goes for your buildings- the littlest change could yield great energy savings.

Take for example, a large commercial office property. Say the boilers are operating 24×7 to combat condensation issues and there is no recirculation line. Solution, by installing a recirculation loop and valve, this facility could be saving on their gas consumption of approximately 22,000 therms and offsetting approximately 11 ton’s of CO2 (GHG).

Another simple energy efficiency measure is a simple sequencing change to lighting through your controls system. Parking deck lighting to be more specific. Usually those are running 24×7- during the day time hours steps can be taken to modify the lighting by installing occupancy sensors at the entry points and integrate them with the EMS (energy management system). For a small two story parking structure, this could be a 30,000kWh energy savings.

Have you checked your chilled water pumps? Are they running at 100% regardless of load? Have you thought of installing VFD’s on the pump motors and tie the VFD speed into the EMS? A simple measure like this can yield lots of kWh in energy savings per year.

Are engineering firms still conducting RCx studies? I know a lot of the traditional RCx incentives have gone away due to regulatory changes and many measures have been ruled deemed measures…RCx is the greatest way to fine tune your building and if your not doing it then your really doing an injustice to your CFO, employees and the environment.

If you are budgeting for next year, allot some capital to enable the implementation of RCx measures. I’ll even send you a list or what to do! Just message me! You don’t need to hire an engineering firm to get this done, my engineer friends won’t be happy to hear this, but it’s true!

Be pro-active in your building’s performance. All these examples are real life stories and successes of the retrocommissiong process. Using what your facility currently has on site and helping it perform better. Please remember: Retrocommissioning is not a philosophy of selling you large new pieces of equipment, so don’t “buy” that story from any company!!

Good luck and RCx on!

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