The Role of Commissioning for Industrialized Construction Projects

Posted by Gretchen Schimelpfenig on Dec 6, 2017 2:52:00 PM

As buildings become increasingly complex and codes require more verification of performance, commissioning is as valuable as ever. “Savvy building owners recognize the gaps in the current design and construction process and the impact they have on the ability to achieve increasingly higher performance requirements” said Ryan Corker of the National Institute of Building Sciences in a November 2017 roundtable for the ASHRAE Journal. The Journal Editor asks: “Why is commissioning necessary if we have professionals designing buildings…shouldn’t everything just work correctly?”

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Topics: Building Cx & Design Review

Designing Buildings for Resiliency To Accommodate Power Failures

Posted by Jennifer Chiodo on Nov 1, 2017 10:00:00 AM

I’m writing this blog from the floor of the Andover Public Library in Andover, MA. After a major windstorm, power is out all over New England and people are scurrying for the few available power outlets and sources of internet.

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Topics: Building Cx & Design Review, Public Policy

The Importance of Functional Performance Testing BAS Outputs

Posted by Walker Calderwood on Jul 12, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Previous blog posts from my colleagues and I contain a detailed explanation of functional performance testing (FPT), an overview of how functional performance tests are created, and specific examples of how conducting FPT contributes to better building performance and energy savings.  In this post I would like to expand upon the previous post “Functional Performance Testing Done Right: Details Matter.”

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Topics: Building Cx & Design Review, Energy Efficiency

The Advantages of Publicly Accessible Controls Documentation

Posted by Rick Stehmeyer on Jun 14, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Commissioning agents do a large amount of review of other people’s work and products.  The building commissioning (Cx) process is a quality-assurance process for verifying and documenting that the performance of facilities, systems, and assemblies meet defined objective criteria[1].  Therefore, to verify facilities and systems, I need access to a product’s technical documentation.  In the commercial building space, almost all documentation is online and readily available via a quick Google search.  Notice that I said almost.

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Topics: Building Cx & Design Review

Lighting Control Systems and the Double-Edged Sword

Posted by Rick Stehmeyer on Apr 26, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Lighting control systems are making their way into new construction and are becoming as common place as HVAC controls.  Just like with many new building technologies, lighting control systems started small, and are now gaining more and more market penetration.  This is great news for those of us who work towards saving energy for building owners.  This new frontier of controls creates new challenges for those of us who work towards saving energy for building owners.  Why, you ask?

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Topics: Building Cx & Design Review

Good Construction = Hard Commissioning

Posted by Rick Stehmeyer on Feb 15, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Sometimes, acting as a commissioning authority day in and day out can weigh on you when you hit a streak of projects with dozens of issues that need correction.

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Topics: Building Cx & Design Review

Leveraging Building Automation Systems During Construction

Posted by Ben Fowler on Jul 13, 2016 10:00:00 AM

We are in the process of wrapping up an energy efficiency and building automation system upgrade project at an office building. The project involved converting an older boiler/tower heat pump loop system with constant speed pumping to variable flow, and the installation of a modern building automation system (BAS) with new energy efficient control sequences. The project has been a big success however, the project team experienced some challenges in really “dialing in” the controls. The main obstacle is that remote access to the BAS had not yet been established. Having remote access to building controls during the later stages of construction provides many benefits—including being able to monitor system performance remotely, review alarm logs and historical trends to identify problems, and even make adjustments on-the-fly to tune system parameters correctly. Without remote access we would have had to drive to the building, request access to a network closet from the property manager, plug into the server in a closet, and then spend time in a tight space trying to accomplish our goals before unplugging and heading back to the office. Needless to say it is not convenient to do frequently, and is expensive.

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Topics: Building Cx & Design Review, Building Performance & Technology

A Schematic Is Worth a Thousand Words

Posted by Rick Stehmeyer on Mar 30, 2016 10:00:00 AM

When you’re asked to review someone else’s building automation system (BAS) programming, it’s a bit of a daunting task.  This is because those of us who program building systems (or really any computer-driven system) for a living figure out that there are a million different ways to capture the same process in any given programming language. Usually no two people will do it the same way.

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Topics: Building Cx & Design Review

The Importance of Communication in the Commissioning Process

Posted by Walker Calderwood on Mar 9, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Building commissioning has become more common on commercial construction projects over the last few years due to the many benefits the commissioning process offers, and in some cases due to new building codes.  During this time owners, architects, engineers, contractors, and construction managers have become more familiar with what commissioning is, and how it affects them.  However, it seems that it’s still often unclear to project teams exactly how to integrate the commissioning authority (CxA) and commissioning process into the construction process.  I believe the first part of the integration begins with communication between the CxA and the rest of the project team. The importance of communication in the commissioning process cannot be overstated.

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Topics: Building Cx & Design Review

Importance of Healthcare Room Pressure Relationships

Posted by Ben Fowler on Feb 23, 2016 10:00:00 AM

During recent functional testing of HVAC systems at a healthcare facility, part of our testing scope was to verify room static pressure relationships between adjacent sterile and contaminated spaces. In healthcare settings (and other settings where contamination control is critical) spaces can be designed to have more or less space pressurization with respect to one another—the result is that any air movement between spaces is in the direction from clean to dirty, and not the reverse.

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Topics: Building Cx & Design Review, healthcare

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