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Benefits of Retro-Commissioning

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Retro-Commissioning is a process to improve the efficiency of a building’s equipment and systems that consume Energy. It is also a vital part of Compliance with Local Law 87 of 2009 set out by the New York City Department of Buildings. Before we move on to the benefits of Retro-Commissioning, we need to understand what it is.

Retro-commissioning (RCx) is the application of the commissioning process to existing buildings. The process allows building owners to reduce energy usage and bills by restoring the building’s operations and maintenance (O&M) procedures.It can often resolve problems that occurred during design or construction, or address problems that have developed throughout the building’s life as equipment has aged, or as building usage has changed. Retro-commissioning involves a systemic evaluation of opportunities to improve energy-using systems. If the same process were applied to a car, mechanics would adjust the settings, controls, components, and design of the engine based on how the owner actually drives

How is it Applicable to Building Owners in New York City?

Local Law 87 of 2009 mandates that buildings larger than 50,000 square feet are required to file an Energy Efficiency Report with the Department of Buildings. This Energy Efficiency Report includes details of the energy audit results and retro-commissioning measures.

An energy audit is an inspection, survey, analysis, and report of energy flows to improve energy efficiency in a building. It will study the base buildings systems, such as the building envelope, HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning), conveying systems, domestic hot water systems and, electrical and lighting systems. While Retro-Commissioning is a detailed look at how well HVAC and lighting controls are working.

Benefits of Retro-Commissioning

Retro-commissioning benefits everyone in a building. Building owners see reduced operating costs from the energy savings and better equipment performance, leading to an increase in net operating income. It is also vital in compliance with the NYC Local Law 87 of 2009 which is required by buildings in NYC that are 50,000 sq. ft. and up.

Building occupants are more comfortable because the adjustments lead to more consistent temperature control and better indoor air quality. Building managers, meanwhile, face fewer occupant complaints and are better able to manage building systems. 

Following are some of the key benefits to be realized through retro-commissioning:

  • Improved occupant comfort and productivity.
  • Improved Building Operation.
  • Improved Building Systems Efficiency and Extended Equipment Useful Life
  • Documented Building Condition and Deficiencies.
  • A List of Recommendations for Improvements.
  • A Road Map for Capital Improvements.
  • Potentially Reduced Carbon Footprint.

Building Energy Efficiency Certification:

Participation in RCx programs may help building owners qualify for, or improve, green building rating certifications, such as Energy Star and LEED. The Cotocon Group will lead you through the steps required to make the complicated certification process easy: from Energy Audits, energy evaluation to the Certification application process and maintenance.

Retro-Commissioning is an essential component of a long-term energy management strategy. This process ensures that future building designs minimize the adverse impacts of future climate change on the facilities and the surrounding community. According to the American Institute of Certified Practicing engineers (AIPE), retro-commissioning is a "mechanism for ensuring that buildings are in compliance with energy efficiency and environmental objectives." The terms" Retro-missions" and" Retro-Commissioning" are often interchanged, however, the latter term should not be confused with the later, which is the determination of whether current building designs warrant any further modifications.

Retro-missions ensure that energy audits are conducted periodically, which helps in reducing the potential for future safety hazards. To comply with the requirements of Local Law 87, all commercial building developers must provide written permission from the sponsor of the project prior to commencing work on any aspect of the renovation or building project. A certificate of occupancy, if required by the law, is obtained after the completion of all required audits.

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