What activity or effort has the potential to provide the MOST impact on the PERFORMANCE of an installed HVAC system? What if I told you the LEAST expensive effort would prove to be the most beneficial for you, the consumer? Would you buy it?
In my experience, commissioning (including retro-commissioning) is hands down the answer. The effort produces positive PERFORMANCE results more than any other activity both in new construction and in existing buildings with existing building systems. This is not just my opinion. There are a multitude of studies and project specific examples that support the effectiveness of commissioning.
What is more compelling is when you consider the cost of commissioning or retro-commissioning as compared to other efforts or activities. When you compare a purely labor driven effort such as commissioning to any other labor activity that would take place during construction or afterward, the value developed and transferred to our customers is superior to any other effort. Commissioning is often the least expensive labor effort on any construction job (and not by a small margin). When you factor this relatively low cost together with highest impact or benefit, the value to building PERFORMANCE is significant.
So why is commissioning not more mainstream? I would agree that commissioning has become a lot more commonplace today than it was even 10 years ago; but, it is not where it needs to be in my opinion. Commissioning is pure labor and because it is dependent on the abilities, knowledge and expertise of the provider it is hard for our customers to make buying decisions. There is a tremendous amount of variation in provider expertise and the ability to produce results. The customer’s decision should be based on actual performance achieved in previous efforts. Pretty reports and technical documentation are nice but at the end of the day that is just paper. Paper that sits on someone’s desk and does nothing…wouldn’t you rather have something that SAVES paper (the green kind) instead?
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