The easiest way to solve a problem is to catch it before it becomes one. This is the philosophy behind CEE’s ongoing commissioning engineering service.
“Ongoing commissioning” refers to the continual analysis of building operations to optimize energy efficiency. When you make the decision to implement ongoing commissioning in your building, CEE’s engineers use software to analyze building data and help you understand how changes in operations, weather, and systems affect your building’s energy use.
Key benefits of ongoing commissioning include understanding how your building uses energy, quickly responding to problems, and keeping utility costs low and building occupants comfortable.
Better understanding of your building’s energy use
Understanding the ins and outs of building operations is key to maximizing efficiency.
Third-party ongoing commissioning is one of the most cost-effective ways to dig into building operations. When a building is commissioned once, it gives you a snapshot of your building’s efficiency at that point in time. However, it doesn’t tell you how different factors, like weather and changes in operations, affect energy use overtime.
An ongoing approach provides a more in-depth analysis of how different factors impact your building’s level of efficiency.
Catching potential problems early
With ongoing commissioning, CEE engineers use a building automation system (BAS) to continuously monitor building data. If any irregularities or concerns appear in the data, you will be able to address them before they lead to larger problems throughout the building.
This not only makes it easier to stay on top of maintenance, but also helps prevent large increases in utility bills or wide temperature swings throughout the space.
Keeping the building comfortable and costs low
Quickly identifying and addressing potential problems means you can maintain the comfort of your building for occupants.
Regardless of your building’s purpose, it’s important that the temperature and environment is comfortable for everyone inside. That can be difficult to regulate throughout a building, especially when equipment is inefficient. Ongoing commissioning makes it easier to catch changes that might be affecting the temperature and comfortability.
The process also helps keep your utility bills from creeping upward. When equipment isn’t running as efficiently as possible, it uses more energy than necessary; if this goes on too long without being identified, it can significantly increase your utility bills. On the flipside, if inefficiencies are found quickly, you can avoid the problem and keep costs lower.
Washington County’s experience
As one example of the practice in action, Washington County’s government offices recently saw success with ongoing commissioning at their Government Complex Center.
CEE engineers installed ongoing commissioning software in three County buildings, with the goal to analyze each building’s HVAC performance. Before getting started, County officials didn’t think they had any problems — but after implementing the software, the team discovered issues that traditional monitoring systems wouldn’t have caught. This allowed the County to quickly find workable solutions and stay on top of future maintenance that could have been missed due to staff shortages, and reduce annual operating costs by $45,000. Read more about Washington County’s progress with continuing commissioning.
Like many others, Washington County’s experience reflects a crucial theme: Even buildings that are thought to be operating as efficiently as possible can benefit from ongoing commissioning.
So how is your building operating? (Do you really know?) Learn more about CEE’s engineering services or give us a call at 612-335-5858 to get started.