Energy efficiency: commissioning

What is commissioning?

A modern building is a sophisticated amalgamation of dynamic systems - from the building envelope to its heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, controls and water distribution system. And like any sophisticated product, it must be tuned regularly to ensure optimal performance.

The business case for commissioning

Conventional commissioning of existing buildings provides on average, annual savings of between 10 to 15 percent.

Other benefits include non-energy benefits such as equipment life, indoor-air quality, and thermal comfort.

Source: What is Commissioning of Existing Buildings? fact sheet, Natural Resources Canada (2011)

Buildings are calibrated through commissioning, a frequently overlooked, yet essential, process of ensuring that a building works as intended. Through the design and construction stages and into the occupancy stage, the commissioning agent continues to monitor plans, performs system testing, ensures documentation of all systems, and arranges training for building occupants on proper operation and maintenance procedures.

What are the benefits of commissioning?

The National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2011, integrated design process and energy modelling are all intended to promote energy efficiency and build responsible energy management practices into new buildings. Commissioning ensures that a building fulfils those intentions, not only in theory through design, but in practice through construction and operation. Commissioning can:

  • boost your building's overall energy performance
  • lower overall maintenance costs while reducing warranty call-backs and complaints
  • create a safer and more comfortable indoor working environment
  • enhance property value
  • provide evidence for building certification, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification

For more information, see our Commissioning/Recommissioning resources page.