Investments in energy efficiency can produce important financial, operational, and environmental benefits. However, full benefits are only possible when all systems and equipment operate to full design intent.
Assuring Design Intent
Field studies show that simply making equipment run as intended can improve energy savings by 10-35%. Commissioning is a systematic quality process that ensures that energy-efficient technologies deliver the performance owners expect and deserve. This entails much more than one-time operational tests of individual pieces of equipment by contractors. A commissioning agent, involved from concept through full operation, acts on the owner’s behalf to assure quality in design, installation, documentation, testing, and training.
Optimizing Key Systems
Commissioning can be appropriate on any project — new construction or renovation. It is particularly valuable in large, sophisticated projects, including:
- Energy management systems
- Refrigeration and chilled water systems
- Variable speed drives
- HVAC systems
- Complex process systems
- Thermal energy storage
Focus on Communication
Most projects involve multiple individuals and teams working in sequence. One element of the job is completed and the result is passed to the next player. Through these many hand-offs, important information can be lost, especially the project’s overall design intent. The commissioning agent fills these potential communication gaps — from owner to architect, to contractor, to manufacturer, to installer, to operator. It is natural to assume that energy systems are operating to specification, or that any problems will be discovered and solved through routine maintenance. However, as energy management systems and other technologies become more sophisticated, the need for commissioning increases. Likewise, routine maintenance typically addresses each component separately rather than verifying operation of the entire system to design intent.
The cost of commissioning varies by project. Actual cost depends on systems involved, size of the building, the scope of commissioning services desired, and other project-specific variables. As commissioning typically improves the efficiency of energy systems, it often pays for itself over several years. Program Administrators may contribute toward the owner’s commissioning expenses.
This service is available to businesses in Massachusetts that are gas or electricity customers of these Program Administrators:
- Cape Light Compact
- National Grid
- Western Massachusetts Electric
- Berkshire Gas
- Liberty Utilities
- Columbia Gas
Contact your Program Administrator for more information about Technical Assistance services.
Not sure who your Program Administrator is? Use the Find Your Program Administrator tool to see the contact information for your gas or electric service area.