Changing occupant needs, space reprogramming, building renovations and obsolete systems can create havoc on a building’s energy systems.
Retro-commissioning identifies energy-saving opportunities through a systematic evaluation
Getting Your Building In Shape
The Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program, in partnership with ComEd's Smart Ideas for Your Business®, offers a Retro-commissioning (RCx) Service which is a full-building assessment designed to help optimize the operational efficiency of a facility’s existing equipment and systems to meet the facility’s current requirements, and is provided at no cost. Retro-commissioning identifies energy saving opportunities through a systematic evaluation of energy-using systems — to assist you in implementing no-cost and low-cost energy-saving improvements.
The retro-commissioning service provides your facility's staff the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with energy engineers. To help sustain the improvements identified in the RCx study, Building Operator Certification® (BOC®) training is required for program participants, and will increase the staff’s knowledge of the efficient and effective operation of the building’s systems.
A monitoring-based approach to retro-commissioning is also available, in which specialized software is used to analyze building system performance over a period of 18 months or more. During that time, energy-saving improvements are continually identified and fine-tuned. Under this approach, a cash incentive is available to assist with the costs of software installation. In addition, incentives are available for gas and electric savings generated by the commissioning service – the more you save, the more you earn!
The Value of Retro-Commissioning
Retro-commissioning provides both energy and non-energy benefits, such as:
- A reduction in building operating costs (energy, maintenance, premature equipment replacement)
- Extended equipment service lifetime
- An improvement in building performance and system integration
- An increase in the asset value of your property
- A more comfortable environment for your tenants and employees, along with a reduction in comfort complaints
- Identification of potential indoor environmental quality issues
- Assuredness that building operations meet owner’s requirements
- An increase in occupant productivity and safety
- Building operator training for your staff
No-Cost, Low-Cost Energy Efficiency Measures
Retro-commissioning shows you how to tune up your existing equipment for optimal performance and helps you identify no cost and low-cost energy saving improvements, such as:
- Fixing ventilation dampers that are open when they should be closed, or vice versa
- Optimizing boiler and steam trap operations
- Adjusting chiller operations to better match building load conditions
- Reducing ventilation in over-ventilated areas
- Eliminating simultaneous heating and cooling
- Reducing supply air static pressure set points
- Properly tuning equipment for maximum efficiency
- Applying sustainability in optimum performance schedules
- Optimizing building systems as a whole to function together and not apart (i.e. simultaneous heating and cooling)
- Maximizing free energy (i.e. the use outside air and lighting when available)
- Implementing demand savings (i.e. operating equipment as needed or when occupied)
Retro-Commissioning Energy Efficiency Measures
that Pay for Themselves
A Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study* found that the average energy savings for buildings participating in retro-commissioning was 16 percent of baseline energy consumption.
Other key findings included:
- Average payback for retro-commissioning measures is 1.1 years
- 5 percent reduction in baseline peak demand
* Building Commissioning: A Golden Opportunity for Reducing Energy Costs and Greenhouse Gas Emissions,
Evan Mills, Ph.D., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, July 21, 2009
Who is Eligible to Apply?
Nicor Gas customers must meet the following minimum eligibility requirements before submitting an application:
Factors that will be considered include:
- Do you have up-to-date building documentation and records available for examination
- Is your facility more than 150,000 square feet
- Does your facility have a relatively high Energy Use Index (EUI) compared to similar buildings, or does it possess a low ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager rating
- Is your facility free of major problems requiring capital repairs or replacements
- Does your facility have a functional building or system energy management system (EMS) with direct digital control (DDC)
- Are the facility’s owner and engineering staff committed to being actively involved in the retro-commissioning process