Commissioning is the process of planning, documenting, scheduling, testing, adjusting, verifying, and training, to provide a facility that operates as a fully functional system per the Owner’s Project Requirements. The goal of the Commissioning Process is to enhance the quality of the delivered project by focusing the design and construction team on the Owner’s goals for a functional and energy efficient building. The earlier a Commissioning Provider is involved in the project process the greater the chance there is for the Commissioning Provider to influence corrections without increased costs later.
The R Group has successfully helped our clients attain LEED Platinum, Gold, Silver as well as a LEED Certificate for extremely large campus style office buildings to office buildings with 30 plus stories.
The commissioning (Cx) activities required for your project will vary depending on the certifying or regulatory agency. Most, if not all types of commissioning will require: Cx Specs, a Cx Plan, a review of the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) and the engineer’s Basis of Design (BOD), and verification of proper installation and performance of commissioned systems such as HVAC, lighting controls, and renewable energy. CALGreen goes a bit beyond LEED v4 Fundamental Commissioning by requiring irrigation system commissioning, a systems manual, and training for the building engineer. Title 24 goes even further by requiring design review and site built fenestration (windows built or assembled on-site) commissioning. If project teams wish to achieve the extra points in LEED v4 by pursuing Enhanced Commissioning, the Commissioning Agent (CxA) will have to include a post-occupancy review and either envelop commissioning (option 1) or a Measurement and Verification (M&V) plan (option 2).
Building Commissioning is the professional practice that ensures buildings are designed, constructed and operated according to the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR). Buildings that are properly commissioned typically have fewer during construction surprises, tend to be more energy efficient, and have lower operation and maintenance cost. The commissioning process provides the foundation for desired and controlled energy consumption of the facility.
It is important to start the commissioning process as early as possible and in the pre-design phase. The early involvement is critical for the timely and useful development of the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR), and its effect on the subsequent design team Basis of Design (BOD), preparation of the Commissioning Plan, and the beginning of the Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Systems Manual. If these tasks are left until later in the process, it will have to be arranged to match the design and construction and it loses the value of the dialog between all parties, cost and life cycle management and other benefits.
The systems to be commissioned commonly include the Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning systems or HVAC, Service or Domestic Hot Water Heating systems, and the Lighting Controls. In addition to these systems, any other energy using system can also be commissioned such as Solar Power or HOT Water Heating systems if desired.
California has recently set in place some of the most progressive green building codes in the nation. All new non-residential and residential buildings, and commercial alterations or additions over $200,000 are required to implement CALGreen’s mandatory measures. Included in this set of mandatory requirements is commissioning for all new non-residential buildings, as well as improvement and additions projects, that are >10,000 square feet (only testing and adjusting is required for non-residential buildings smaller than this).
Effective as of January 1st, 2014, CALGreen commissioning requirements were incorporated into California’s Title 24 Energy Code. Title 24 commissioning is mandatory for almost all state agencies, K-12 schools, and community college buildings. Additional requirements under Title 24 include: schematic and construction document phase reviews, design review by an independent design engineer, and commercial refrigeration and compressed air systems commissioning. It’s important to note that the CALGreen mandatory measures (now listed under Title 24, Part 11) are complementary to these additional energy code commissioning requirements.
Benefits of LEED Commissioning through working with The R Group aside from our unbeatable prices for a fully Commissioned buildingwhich will preserve your cost and generate the following:
- Reduced Design & Re-Work Costs
- Reduced Taxation
- Increased Rents
- Increased Asset Value
- Longer Tenant Agreements
- Risk mitigation technique
- Establishes maintenance and operation policies
LEED Enhanced Commissioning
LEED Enhanced Commissioning gives a credit by providing a commissioning process that also includes:
- Contractor submittals Review
- Design review prior to 50% CDs
- System’s manual Development
- Building’s operations review within ten months of completion
- Building operating personnel’s training verification
LEED Fundamental Commissioning
In LEED 2009, and continuing on in LEED v4, Fundamental Commissioning is a prerequisite for all LEED projects, regardless of size. Many of the requirements for Fundamental Commissioning and Verification overlap with CALGreen’s mandatory measures, as seen in the chart below. LEED v4 BD+C project teams can also gain extra points (up to 6) by pursuing the voluntary Enhanced Commissioning credit. This Enhanced Commissioning credit offers teams multiple options for attaining points: they may pursue Path 1 for 3 points, which includes general enhanced commissioning process (CxP) tasks such as post-occupancy review, or Path 2 for 4-6 points, which means achieving Path 1 plus developing monitoring-based procedures and identifying points to be measured (4 points), and also conducting envelope commissioning (6 points).
The LEED Fundamental Commissioning process includes:
- Review of the BOD (Basis of Design) and OPR (Owner’s Project Requirements)
- Implementation of a Commissioning Plan
- Incorporation of commissioning specs
- Verification of installation and performance of the systems
- Delivery of a Commissioning Report