Suppose someone was willing to give you something at almost no cost that you know would generate tangible benefits over several years. Would it really require a lot of debate to determine if it’s something that you should do? In many ways, that’s how I view building retro-commissioning (often referred to as “RCx”) for buildings. Many utility companies across the country have very aggressive RCx programs that will pay for all or most of the costs of the study. Some even provide additional incentives for implementation of measures – and most measures are even low to no-cost that won’t break the bank to implement. This is a “win-win-win” scenario in that buildings win by achieving lower energy usage and costs, utilities win by reducing demand on their systems to avoid new power plants, and the environment wins by reducing carbon emissions.
All buildings go through a life cycle – from initial construction through years of operation – which may include multiple changes. To ensure that buildings are operated as efficiently as possible, the energy consuming systems should be evaluated and “fine-tuned” at various times throughout the life of a building. Although buildings may undergo an up-front commissioning process, periodic “retro-commissioning” or “re-commissioning” is also needed to optimize performance and reduce energy consumption. So, what is retro-commissioning? For the basis of this post, the following definition can be used:
- RCx is commissioning applied to an existing facility, whether previously commissioned or not, to help the facility and its systems meet the Owner’s current and anticipated future requirements (not necessarily its original design).
In concept, this is like consulting a doctor for a “check-up” to improve your general health. In a similar way, buildings should also have a check-up on a regular basis to diagnose any problems with the equipment and systems that may be negatively impacting energy usage or occupant comfort. That’s how Burton Energy Group can assist – we have a team of energy experts, or energy “doctors”, that can assess the condition of your building systems and recommend specific areas of improvement.
The other good news is that Burton Energy Group is already registered as an approved RCx service provider for several utility companies across the country, so we can help buildings leverage utility-sponsored RCx incentives. Following is a summary of some of those programs and the available incentives. Some programs may have customer implementation commitments for projects with attractive payback periods, but most would be measures that most facilities should want to implement anyway.
As part of their energy bills, most buildings have been paying into the various incentive programs for utility companies. So, why not tap into some of the benefits of those programs in terms of reduced energy usage and costs? With utility incentives supporting the low to no-cost energy saving measures, building owners and operators could view participating in these RCx programs as a “no-brainer”.
If you have interest in participating in an RCx program, we can provide additional details and program requirements and help you get started down the path to RCx savings. In other areas, we can still provide in-house RCx services to optimize the performance of buildings, so RCx should not be only limited to locations with utility-sponsored incentive programs.
Stay tuned for future posts that discuss some of the specific utility incentive programs and RCx in more detail and click here to contact Burton Energy Group about delivering the benefits of retro-commissioning to your building.