Retrocommissioning is an integral part of managing the energy performance of buildings in New York City. It is an energy efficiency strategy to ensure that a building’s existing mechanical and electrical systems operate efficiently and meet occupants’ needs. Retro-commissioning services are essential to providing quality control and assessment in buildings. Let us explore the subtleties of retro-commissioning in New York City, including how it works, why it is crucial, its benefits, and when it is recommended.
What is Retro-Commissioning?
Retro-commissioning is a quality-assurance process that helps identify and improve existing building systems’ performance. This process aims to increase efficiency, reduce energy consumption, and save money on operating costs. It typically consists of an initial assessment or audit followed by recommendations for improvement. During a retro-commissioning process, qualified engineers or technicians will inspect each system and its components to identify any areas that could benefit from modifications or upgrades. Retro-commissioning can also address problems that have developed throughout the building’s life due to aging equipment or changes in its usage.
Why do you need Retro-commissioning?
Properly functioning HVAC systems are essential for any building but can be incredibly costly when they do not work correctly. By finding and fixing problems with existing systems before they become expensive failures, Retro-commissioning can help save money on energy bills and reduce the risk of future equipment failure or malfunctions. You can analyze performance opportunities for energy-using systems to improve the energy performance of your building. You will only need to commission the systems that have impaired performance.
What problems can Retro-commissioning resolve?
Retro-commissioning can help you improve your building’s performance, such as operating the heating and air conditioning systems, leaky valves and belts, and wasted energy. It can become an excellent asset for buildings undergoing many changes, repairs, and upgrades. The process involves testing various system components to ensure they work efficiently and optimally. Additionally, it helps identify incorrect settings on thermostats or other controllers that may be responsible for higher energy bills. Finally, retro-commissioning helps set up a good maintenance program that can help prevent future breakdowns while ensuring all existing equipment is running optimally, improving overall efficiency.
How does it work?
The retro-commissioning process typically involves a group of engineers, such as IAG Energy, assessing how efficiently all the building systems are working. They can then create a plan outlining which services and equipment must be checked for efficiency and optimized accordingly. Once the group has developed its plan, it will recommend adjusting any faulty equipment to achieve better energy efficiency throughout the building.
Benefits of retro-commissioning
Visual and thermal comfort
Retro-commissioning projects can help improve lighting levels and temperature control, leading to a more comfortable environment for occupants. It is particularly true for older buildings that have not received regular maintenance, as the lack of proper upkeep can lead to lower lighting levels and inadequate temperature control.
Equipment service life
By ensuring equipment, systems, and components are functioning correctly, building owners can maximize the useful life of their assets. It helps to delay capital expenditures that would otherwise be required for new replacements.
Indoor Air Quality
Poor operation of HVAC systems can lead to the build-up of pollutants, such as dust and moisture, in the air. This accumulation of pollutants or excessive humidity can cause various health problems, from allergies to respiratory illnesses. Retrocommissioning helps improve HVAC performance and reduce these effects by assessing existing equipment and identifying areas needing improvement. Specifically, retro-commissioning can ensure that ventilation systems are correctly set up and running at optimal temperatures and pressures.
Retro-commissioning can have a dramatic effect on productivity in the workplace. By eliminating noise or lamp flicker, employees can focus more easily on their tasks and get more done in less time.
Lighting improvements can provide improved safety for a facility. Retrocommissioning can help ensure that the lighting system throughout a building is more efficient and offers better visibility and uniformity. By taking proactive steps to the retro commission, businesses can reduce their risk of accidents and save money on costly repairs.
Through retro-commissioning, equipment issues are addressed and solved permanently, leading to long-term maintenance savings for the building owner. This process requires a thorough evaluation of all equipment and systems and realignment with desired performance levels set out at the start of the project.
When is Retro-commissioning recommended?
Retrocommissioning is especially recommended when renovating older buildings or buildings that have never been commissioned. Nevertheless, many circumstances indicate building systems must be checked and tuned:
Recent occupancy change:
It could be due to the relocation of personnel, new equipment, or a change in the hours of operation. HVAC and lighting needs vary significantly according to the occupancy type and should be adjusted accordingly. For instance, if space previously used for storage is now being used as an office, the HVAC system will need to be modified to provide more cooling, and additional lighting may also need to be added. Additionally, if operation hours have changed (i.e., from day-time operations only to 24-hour operations), then it is vital that the building systems can accommodate this shift in usage patterns.
Increasing energy consumption:
It can be used when there is an unexplained increase in energy consumption and bills, as this may indicate that the building’s systems are not operating as efficiently as they could. This inefficiency could be due to outdated equipment, incorrect settings, or lack of maintenance. Retro-commissioning a building can make it more efficient, lowering energy consumption and bills.
Increasing occupant complaints:
Poor lighting, noisy HVAC systems, poor water pressure, excessive temperature, or moisture can all lead to occupant discomfort and dissatisfaction. Retrocommissioning assesses existing building systems and looks for solutions that will help address these problems by adjusting equipment settings, repairs, upgrades of components or entire systems if necessary, and improving maintenance practices.
Retrocommissioning is suitable for the following:
- Businesses looking to update their systems
- If you want to know your energy performance score
- If you’re going to improve energy efficiency.
- If you already have problems with your HVAC or heating systems
- Your energy bills have increased
- You want a green building certificate
Hiring a commissioning consultant is highly recommended to reach the outcome, mainly if the retro-commissioning project is being carried out to fulfill the requirements of Local Law 87. Even in buildings where the procedure is not required, the Return on Investment can be substantial, freeing up assets for business operations or other building upgrades. IAG Energy assists you by auditing, retro-commissioning, and implementing energy-saving methods that will help you achieve 100% Local Law 87 compliance. Visit our website today at www.iagenergy.com or call us now at 212-235-5611 to learn more about how our services can help you save on energy costs in your building.