It’s no secret that building commissioning is one of the best risk management strategies you can utilize in construction. It not only improves energy efficiency but benefits building owners by significantly reducing overall operating costs. In our What You Need to Know about Building Commissioning article, we explain why commissioning was adopted early on by sustainability efforts and later by building codes like LEED and IECC, making it common practice for most building projects. Now, we’re taking an in-depth look at existing building commissioning to explain what it is, how it works, and how we can help.

What is existing building commissioning?

Existing building commissioning, also known as Retro or Re-Commissioning, is a systematic process that reveals an existing building’s energy usage and operational deficiencies so that building owners and operators can determine where improvements can be made to reduce energy consumption and improve building operation. Whether a building is relatively brand new, or has seen better days, existing building commissioning is an important part of ensuring a building’s long-term success. Existing building commissioning can address problems that occurred during the design and construction phase, or issues that have developed throughout the building’s lifetime as equipment and systems have aged, or its intended use has changed. As we’ve seen recently throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, changes in building usage and occupancy can also affect a building’s overall energy usage and operational strategies.

What is the process and why is it important?

Today, buildings include more technology and interactive systems than ever before. As these increasingly complex facilities are built on tighter construction timelines, the complicated systems they include must be integrated to operate efficiently. Throughout building life, building systems can experience a dip in performance which can lead to costly problems and increased utility cost if not identified early.

The process of diagnosing a building’s performance first involves the planning phase; understanding the owner’s core needs, interviewing facility staff, and establishing a plan with goals. Next is the investigation phase where a facility condition assessment and functional testing occurs to examine and test the building’s systems holistically. Often, an energy audit is performed to determine where most of the building’s energy is being consumed, if systems are simultaneously heating and cooling the structure, if sensors are out of calibration, and whether or not controls are functioning correctly. Once a master list of findings has been issued, building owners and operators will work with trained commissioning professionals to determine a plan of action to optimize their building.

Why is Henderson the right fit for my building?

Many facility owners struggle with having enough experienced staff to ensure the effective operation of their facilities. That’s where we come in. A client-focused, solutions-driven approach to commissioning is one of Henderson’s greatest strengths. To help upgrade and modernize the AT&T Center, home of the San Antonio Spurs, our Henderson Building team created a plan that prioritized, incorporated, and justified the investment in energy conservation measures, along with improvements on operations critical to the high profile venue. A partner for the life of the building, we were on-site for six months to manage plan implementation and construction of the energy-saving measures – staffing up for high profile events to monitor systems at peak performance. Whether you’re experiencing operational changes, increasing energy consumption overtime, receiving occupant complaints, or are facing a seemingly unsolvable problem, our team of experienced commissioning professionals can help you get to the bottom of it.

Your goals are our priority as we investigate and diagnose your building. In developing our implementation plan, we customize it to address your facility’s unique needs. Using real-time data, we offer investment-grade budgets leveraging your current capital to deliver a more energy efficient building that will save you time and money.

We believe existing building commissioning is valuable at any stage of building life, and in today’s world, it’s more important than ever. To help address your building’s efficiency issues, increase occupant comfort, improve indoor air quality, and get the most out of your building, our experts are here to help. If you have questions or would like to discuss the implementation of existing building commissioning with one of our Henderson Building Solutions professionals, contact us here.

About the Authors

Jon Jensen

Commissioning Manager
When it comes to the knowledge, skills, and expertise required to assess, test, and troubleshoot building systems for technical performance, Jon has it all. An AABC Commissioning Group (ACG) Certified Commissioning Authority (CxA), Jon is an expert in his field with a robust knowledge of building systems involving: troubleshooting, preparing commissioning reports, ensuring job site safety, equipment calibration, test and balance and control systems. Working with clients on a nationwide scale, his communication and organizational skills, along with a passion for helping people and solving problems, make Jon an undeniable asset to owners during the design and construction process and throughout the life of their buildings. He puts as much emphasis on collaboration as he does on the functionality of the systems he works with; owners know their interests are accounted for and they’ll always be kept in the loop with Jon on their team.