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Existing Building Commissioning: A Comprehensive Guide with LotusWorks

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Intro

Have you ever wondered why some buildings perform better than others? The secret could be ‘existing building commissioning’. With the increasing focus on energy efficiency and environmental responsibility, existing building commissioning is becoming a vital part of facility and energy management. In the realm of existing building commissioning, LotusWorks emerges as a trailblazer. With its innovative approach and cutting-edge solutions, LotusWorks is redefining how buildings are optimized for efficiency and sustainability. 

The Ongoing Commissioning Process

Overview

The ongoing commissioning process involves evaluating, adjusting, and verifying the operation of a building’s systems. From HVAC to process mechanical systems including lighting and security, successful commissioning process considers all components that impact a building’s performance. 

The Phases of Ongoing Commissioning

The commissioning process typically includes five key phases: Planning, Assessment, Investigation, Implementation, and Handoff. Each plays a significant role in shaping the overall success of the commissioning project or initiative. 

  1. Planning Phase: During this initial stage, the commissioning team assembles the EBCx programme planning team, documents goals and objectives, and ranks buildings systems for viability. Any potential RFQs are assembled with the system owner, during this phase. The objectives of this phase are to establish the CFR or to ensure that an existing CFR includes all necessary information, to assess the facility’s suitability for an EBCx Plan, and to develop a course of action to execute   the EBCx Plan. 
  2. Assessment Phase: During the assessment phase, the Owner’s EBCx Goals and Objectives are defined. The initial EBCx team is selected. The Current Facility Requirements (CFR) and an Existing-Building Commissioning (EBCx) Plan are developed and defined for a single facility, and an assessment of the facility is performed. 
  3. Investigation Phase: In this phase, the commissioning team performs in-depth testing and analysis to identify performance issues and opportunities for improvement. The findings from this stage form the basis for the Implementation Phase. Any obvious maintenance issues or operational problems that can be easily remedied are addressed with a possible re-design a possibility, if required
  4. Implementation Phase: During the Implementation Phase, the owner decides which recommendations to implement. These actions might involve utility incentives or fall under the umbrella of capital projects. Verification of implemented actions and performance testing ensures improvements are in line with performance requirements of the ECBx plan and best commissioning practices. 
  5. Handoff Phase: The occupancy phase involves training building operators to maintain the systems to ensure optimal performance.

Get in touch for further information on LotusWorks Commissioning Services

Existing Building Commissioning 

  • Challenges in Existing Buildings 

Existing buildings often present unique challenges. From outdated infrastructure to the inefficient use of energy, these structures require a tailored approach when it comes to commissioning. 

  • Opportunities in Existing Buildings 

Despite these challenges, existing buildings hold vast opportunities for improvement. By applying the principles of commissioning, these structures can be transformed into highly efficient and sustainable entities that align with the owner’s project requirements. 

Ongoing Commissioning 

  • Continuous Commissioning

Continuous commissioning, also known as ongoing commissioning, ensures that a building’s performance is continually monitored, and improvements are made as  necessary.

  • Monitoring-Based Commissioning

Monitoring-based commissioning uses real-time data to identify performance issues and guide the commissioning process. This proactive approach allows for rapid response to performance issues and ensures optimal building performance. 

existing building commissioning hvac units

How can LotusWorks add significant value by Optimizing Existing Building Commissioning?

Understanding that each building is unique, LotusWorks offers tailored solutions to meet the specific needs and challenges of each project, ensuring the best possible outcomes. By applying the commissioning process to existing buildings, LotusWorks can optimise their performance through the investigation and implementation phases and construction phases to ensure they meet the current and evolving needs of their occupants. Building systems are complex assemblies that work together to provide a safe, comfortable, and productive environment. These can include HVAC, electrical, mechanical, security, and fire protection, systems and equipment.  

In turn, by partnering with LotusWorks to optimise your commissioning process, the following benefits can be obtained:  

  1. Energy Efficiency: LotusWorks can provide expertise in assessing and improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings. By optimizing HVAC systems, lighting and other energy-consuming equipment, they can help in significantly reducing energy costs and improve the building’s sustainability.  
  2. System Optimization: Our technical teams can analyze and optimize building systems for peak performance. This includes adjusting system settings, recommending updates and ensuring all equipment is operating as intended, leading to improved reliability and extended equipment life.  
  3. Compliance and Certification: LotusWorks can assist in ensuring that the building meets and adheres to all relevant industry standards, regulations and certifications. LotusWorks technical teams can update and maintain accurate documentation of building systems and provide training to facility staff ensuring they are well-equipped to operate and maintain the systems efficiently. 
  4. Technology Integration: LotusWorks can integrate the latest technology solutions such as Building Management Systems (BMS) and Internet of Things devices to enable real-time monitoring and control of building systems. This leads to improved operational efficiency and proactive maintenance.  
  5. Predictive Maintenance: Utilizing advanced analytics and monitoring tools, LotusWorks can help implement predictive maintenance strategies as part of their reliability engineering service. The unique reliability engineering service offering foresees equipment failures before they occur, minimizing downtime and reducing maintenance costs.  
  6. Indoor Environmental Quality: LotusWorks can assess and enhance indoor environmental quality, including air quality, lighting and thermal comfort. Improving these aspects can contribute to the well-being and productivity of the building’s occupants. They can provide consultancy services to make buildings more environmentally friendly and sustainable, potentially leading to certifications like LEED, which can increase the building’s value and appeal. 
  7. Cost Savings: By optimizing building systems, reducing energy consumption and improving operational efficiency, LotusWorks can contribute to significant cost savings over the building’s lifecycle.  

Conclusion

Existing building commissioning represents a strategic approach to improving the performance and efficiency of built environments. By applying a thorough and systematic process, it’s possible to unlock significant operational efficiencies, reduce energy costs, and create buildings that truly meet the needs of their occupants. 

At LotusWorks, we have previously commissioned many projects in an array of different sectors, our full project portfolio can be found by clicking this link: https://lotusworks.com/case-studies/. 

FAQ

A1: Existing Building Commissioning (EBCx) is a systematic process aimed at optimising the operations and maintenance of building systems in an existing building, improving its overall performance and efficiency. This process involves identifying, investigating, and rectifying performance issues and discrepancies, to ensure the building systems are operating optimally and fulfilling their intended design. EBCx can reduce operational costs, enhance occupant comfort, and extend the lifespan of building systems. 

A2: The commissioning process typically encompasses four main phases: 

  • Planning Phase: The commissioning team establishes the goals and objectives, assembles the EBCx program planning team, ranks buildings or systems based on viability, and addresses any readily fixable maintenance issues if economically feasible to do so.  
  • Investigation Phase: This phase includes a comprehensive assessment to identify performance issues and opportunities for enhancement. It includes extensive testing and documentation. 
  • Implementation Phase: Here, decisions are made on which recommendations to execute, with actions in alignment with the final commissioning report. The improvements are then implemented, and their effectiveness is verified. 
  • Handoff Phase: This final stage involves training for operations and maintenance personnel, the development of an ongoing commissioning plan, and sharing of the updated systems manual with the building owner. 

A3: Building commissioning enhances energy efficiency by ensuring that building systems operate as designed and that they are optimised for performance. It involves testing, adjusting, and balancing the systems to minimize energy use without compromising comfort or functionality. Over time, these efforts lead to substantial energy savings and reduced operational costs. 

Q4: Ongoing commissioning, also known as continuous or monitoring-based commissioning, plays a crucial role in maintaining and enhancing building performance. It involves regular checks and balances to ensure systems continue to operate as intended and performance standards are upheld. Real-time data is used to quickly identify and rectify performance issues, which leads to significant energy savings, enhanced occupant comfort, and extended equipment life. 

A5: Commissioning your existing building offers numerous benefits, including improved energy efficiency, reduced operational costs, enhanced occupant comfort, and extended equipment lifespan. Through the commissioning process, building systems are optimised, discrepancies are identified and rectified, and overall building performance is improved. Furthermore, the process helps to ensure your building remains compliant with changing regulations and standards, thereby preserving its value over time. 

 

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