Retro Commissioning

Retro Commissioning

A pre-qualified retro-commissioning engineering firm evaluates how your mechanical equipment, lighting and related controls operate and function together. Suggested improvements are supported with sustainable energy management strategies.

Get Off to a Smooth Start with Financial Incentives and Technical Advice

As your building ages and its occupants change, it is important to review your building’s control strategies and operating procedures. Malfunctioning and outdated control logic can cause a building’s management system (BMS) to use more energy and prevent it from operating at peak performance. Retro-commissioning (RCx) allows you to identify energy- savings in existing commercial and industrial buildings by improving the BMS’s operation.

The Retro-Commissioning program helps get this process off to a smooth start and provides financial incentives and technical advice. 

What is Retro-Commissioning?

When a new building is initially commissioned, it undergoes an assurance process that is conducted at the end of construction. Commissioning demonstrates that the new building operates as designed, with all systems working together at peak efficiency. Retro-commissioning is a similar systematic process that seeks to improve how the equipment and systems function together in an existing building. Depending on the age of the building, retro-commissioning can often resolve problems that occurred during design or construction or address problems that have developed throughout the building's life. Overall, retro-commissioning improves operations and maintenance procedures to enhance overall building performance.

Retro-commissioning is a cost-effective way to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs and peak demand. Since it focuses primarily on energy-using existing equipment and on low-cost improvements, it is usually more cost-effective than installing new equipment. In addition, given that a full understanding of a building’s energy using systems is essential to a proper retro-commissioning project, it is an ideal time to determine how best to limit peak energy use within a building. Retro-commissioning identifies non-essential loads that can be “shed” in times of peak energy use. As such, retro-commissioning is a cost-effective way to improve energy efficiency in existing buildings, reduce peak demand and provide increased owner satisfaction.

Using O&M tune-up activities and diagnostic testing, the process addresses root causes. Retro-commissioning is not a substitute for major repair work. Repairing major problems is a must before retro-commissioning can be fully completed.

A complete retro-commissioning process includes:

  • A screening activity to identify candidate buildings on your properties
  • A survey that results in a retro-commissioning investigation plan
  • An investigation including diagnostic monitoring
  • A retro-commissioning report that identifies O&M strategies for achieving energy efficiency and demand responsiveness opportunities
  • Implementation of selected retro-commissioning improvements
  • Applying persistence measures to ensure operational performance and savings

Retro-commissioning allows you to improve your building systems so they operate efficiently, effectively and reliably over time. 

How the Retro-Commissioning Program Works

Steps to Take Smart Energy Action

Step 1

To get started, contact UI by calling 877 WISE USE (877.947.3873). Utility energy engineers will collaborate with you and a pre-qualified retro-commissioning engineering firm. The firm will use targeted functional tests and a building management system trend analysis to survey, investigate and provide recommendations for energy-efficient improvements (electric, gas and oil) at your facility.

Step 2

The program uses a financial incentive strategy for the investigation and implementation phases.  For the investigation, the selected approved engineering firm conducts an in-depth analysis of the building management system and associated HVAC and lighting equipment. They develop a master list of proposed energy-efficiency measures, including projected costs, savings and payback and an implementation report.

Step 3

The implementation report serves as a plan for moving forward with measure implementation. The utility program administrator will prepare an agreement for your signature prior to implementing your retro-commissioning plan. The agreement will detail all energy-efficient measures, estimated savings and estimated incentive amounts. The agreement must be signed by you and your utility prior to installing the identified measures. To see the current implementation incentive structure, visit your utility’s website.

Step 4

Training sessions for building operators and facility managers are also part of the program to facilitate ongoing maintenance and ensure lasting improvements. The retro-commissioning team works with facility operators to establish clear documentation of the new control strategies and helps incorporate them into ongoing maintenance procedures.

Step 5

After the project is completed and training is conducted, the measures are verified and you receive your incentive payment.

Examples of energy efficiency opportunities that arise during retro-commissioning include:

  • Optimizing fresh air economizer operations
  • AHU supply fan static pressure
  • Reheat and variable air volume control sequences
  • Condenser water temperatures
  • Variable frequency drives for pumps and fans
  • Building management system operation sequence - confirmation to meet current scheduling requirements
  • Review of humidity set point ranges for data centers
  • Demand-based ventilation system improvements and validation
  • Chiller discharge temperature – automation of reset
  • Free-cooling control sequence improvements
  • Electric unit heaters –  addition of control schemes
  • Identification and elimination of simultaneous heating and cooling situations

Start saving energy and money using your existing capital equipment. 

Who is Eligible the Retro-Commissioning Program

UI customers on a commercial or industrial rate can participate in electric energy-efficient measures. CNG, SCG or Eversource customers on a firm commercial or industrial rate can participate in natural gas energy-saving measures.

The program is ideal for commercial buildings, municipal offices and schools.

Buildings must be:

  • Pre-screened and submit an application
  • Over 100,000 square feet (may be aggregated)
  • Have building energy management system with trending capability
  • Have a current ENERGY STAR® benchmark

Many types of businesses can benefit:

  • Manufacturing 
  • Retail stores
  • Municipal offices
  • Commercial buildings
  • Office buildings
  • Schools

Starting the process is easy. Just call 877 WISE USE (877.947.3873). to start the process.


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