Retrocommissioning – What Am I Buying?

Have you purchased a retrocommissioning project in the past few years? Perhaps you have and you were not really sure what it was that you got in return. Perhaps you have not because all the proposals you have received have you confused…how are you supposed to get funding for something when you are not even sure what IT IS you are buying.


Retrocommissioning is confusing to many and this is understandable. All too often, we as providers speak about retrocommissioning in terms of a project because typically that is what it is to US (the provider). Unfortunately in the process we may miss the opportunity to properly inform our consumers about what retrocommissioning REALLY is and most importantly what it does.


Perhaps it is best to start to define what retrocommissioning IS by stating what it IS NOT. Retrocommissioning IS NOT a stack of paper, a report of findings, an even longer to do list for you and your team or anything of the sort. Unfortunately for many consumers and providers alike, this is often times what is seen as the end product or what has been purchased.


Retrocommissioning is a SERVICE that is provided through the application of a very labor intense and highly technical process. In its very basic form a retrocommissioning team is tasked with completely understanding a facility and its operations while also interrogating and understanding the building systems that serve these operations. The team is looking for problems, not knowing what they will find, organizing and prioritizing the problems and SOLVING these problems in an effort to provide the most value and impact to the customer.


Understanding your facility and its operations and understanding the building systems that serve your facility takes time and effort, this is usually the easy part. Rooting out the true problems in your facility, determining which ones will have the highest impact and implementing SOLUTIONS that are truly noticeable to a facility operator and owner is what separates a worthwhile retrocommissioning “project” from that stack of paper that sits on your desk. What kind of impact? Savings. True savings…measured in dollars and cents. Improved conditions, noticeably improved environmental conditions. So much so that your occupants tell you how much better things are, instead of how miserable they are. At the end of the “project” wouldn’t it be nice to have a facility that operates much better than it did before? I would suggest if you have had your facility truly retrocommissioned then you will KNOW exactly what you bought.


So, what are YOU buying?


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About Matt Norman


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Matt Norman is the director of Energy Services at McKenney’s and is responsible for our energy-related management, engineering and commissioning teams. He regularly consults with building owners and managers who are seeking measurable energy efficiency gains through equipment right-sizing and advance system controls. Along with other notable projects, Matt’s portfolio includes the Duke Energy Center—the first-ever LEED® Platinum-certified commercial office building under the LEED Core & Shell rating system.

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