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Ongoing Commissioning vs. Retro Commissioning: a Source of Confusion

December 12, 2013 By Linda Hardesty

Energy Manager TodayMany building owners express confusion about commissioning, according to a speaker on an Energy Manager Today webinar held earlier this week.

“One thing we hear quite a bit in the market is: what is the difference between retro commissioning or monitoring-based commissioning versus fault detection diagnostics?” said Craig Engelbrecht, director of Smart Services and Technology at Siemens Industry, during the “Smart Building Technology: The Key to Comprehensive Building Performance,” webinar (now available on demand).

Engelbrecht said there are clear differences between the following:

Existing Building Commissioning (EBCx) also referred to as retro commissioning, involves work in the plan, evaluate and implement phases and will rely on people, processes and technologies in order to commission the building to today’s requirements and set KPI for expected operations.

Monitoring Based Commissioning (MBCx), also referred to as ongoing/continuous commissioning, involves ongoing service and data driven measurement and reporting the KPIs for expected operations of today’s requirements and verification of facility improvement measures. Like EBCx, a combination of people, process and technology are necessary for a successful MBCx program.

Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) is an important tool that can be leveraged to create quick and cost effective results of data analysis of equipment/systems to find problems during the evaluate, service and measure phases. FDD relies heavily on technology in order to be successful.

“Existing building commissioning looks at the current days’ building requirements, and it implements what it finds,” said Engelbrecht. But monitoring-based commissioning is about looking at the KPIs that were identified and set during the planning stage and tracking and measuring that you’re on track to meet those KPIs. Fault detection is about finding problems.”

The webinar “Smart Building Technology: The Key to Comprehensive Building Performance,” with Siemens Industry, Navigant Research and Energy Manager Today is available on demand.


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