Monitoring Based Commissioning
This element of the program is a unique approach to obtaining savings that combines the expertise of the Universities' statewide campus facility management staff, additional utility and subcontractor expertise, and the installation of energy monitoring and metering equipment at the building submeter and system level. Through these resources, a systematic, comprehensive continuous commissioning program will be developed. To date, almost every retro-commissioning program has consisted of a one-time review of building operations, installation of equipment control measures, one or two training workshops, and possibly development of commissioning documents.
The approach of this portion of the partnership program is far different. It includes the usual first step, a review of building operations and installation of equipment. However, it will go beyond the typical program to date in three aspects. First, the campuses that participate in this aspect of the program will install sufficient equipment to insure an extensive and comprehensive built-in measurement and verification capability. Second, this element of the program will be combined with the third element (Energy Efficiency Education and Best Practices Development and Training) to become a "continuous commissioning" program, that is institutionalized at the campuses for the foreseeable future. In this way, savings will be sustained well beyond those from the more typical and limited retro-commissioning programs. Third, the program will use the campus facilities management staff to identify new cost-effective retrofit opportunities efficiently and at low cost. The key to success for this effort will be the existing infrastructure that UC/CSU bring to this program - extensive campus facility management staff who are already well-versed in energy skills but who lack the tools to implement continuous commissioning and the specialized training needed to do so in-house.
Building commissioning is increasingly recognized as a beneficial, cost-effective process to ensure optimal building performance, reduce energy use, and improve indoor air quality, occupant comfort and productivity. Over the past ten years, utilities in California and across the United States have been important supporters of the commissioning industry, and their support has led to significant energy savings. Still though, most buildings have never undergone any type of commissioning or quality assurance process, and are therefore likely performing well below their potential. Further, almost all of the commissioning work done to-date has been with new construction. Where these has been retro-commissioning (commissioning of existing buildings), it typically has been a "one-time" approach, as opposed to an integrated retro- and continuous commissioning program. UC/CSU are confident that there are very substantial energy saving opportunities in existing University buildings. The unique approach of this program - continuous commissioning using existing campus facility management staff and development of "best practices" methodologies that are used on an on-going basis - will ensure persistency in savings not seen by the typical retro-commissioning program to date.
This program will develop and apply a systematic process for improving and optimizing building operations at all 33 of the UC/CSU campuses in the IOU service areas. This process as envisioned will be replicable at CCC and other private college and university campuses across the state, as well as in state and local government facilities. UC/CSU management support full development of this program component as a way to ensure that their campus buildings are performing optimally, save much-needed operating and maintenance budget dollars, and are deferring the need for expensive capital projects. This upfront buy-in from the Universities overcomes another common barrier in administering commissioning programs -- finding and securing interested building owners and tenants. In this case, the building owners are secured and, as long-term owners, are committed to following through with the retro-commissioning process.
As noted above, this element of the program is a unique approach to obtaining savings that combines the expertise of the Universities' statewide campus facilities management staff, additional utility and subcontractor expertise, and the installation of energy monitoring and metering equipment at the building sub meter level. It will be integrated with the existing expertise of campus facilities management staff and the third element of this partnership program (Energy Efficiency Education and Best Practices Development and Training) so that it delivers persistent savings not experienced in typical retro-commissioning programs and simultaneously identifies additional cost-effective retrofit opportunities efficiently and at low cost.
This program element is comprised of three components, Energy Information Systems/Building Diagnostics, Facility Retro-Commissioning, and Continuous Commissioning. This third element, Continuous Commissioning, done by campus staff using the expertise gained in the Education and Training element of the partnership program and their experience with the Retro-commissioning component in this program element, is a unique undertaking that will ensure continued savings not typically achieved in building commissioning efforts. The UC/CSU/IOU team will implement each component as follows:
Energy Information Systems/Building Diagnostics
Central monitoring and data acquisition systems will be procured and installed to give campus facilities management staff the tools to reduce energy consumption and peak demand at the campuses by having consolidated energy information at the building system level. This aspect will incorporate a facility needs assessment where hardware needs will be investigated, such as sub-metering each building and locating monitoring points on major energy usage areas. Software needs, such as databases to display and archive system and building performance, will also be considered. Monitoring systems will be permanently installed by subcontractors hired under this program or campus facilities management staff and used by campus facility management staff to perform facility retro- and continuous commissioning as described below.
Based on the energy information systems and building diagnostic tools described above, existing campus facilities management staff, using the additional utility and subcontractor expertise supplied under this program, will retro-commission select buildings and central plants to get them operating as efficiently as possible. Prior to this work, campus facilities management staff will have received training in Best Practices Retro-commissioning under the Education and Training element of this partnership program. Campus facilities staff will use the knowledge from the classroom training sessions and will work directly with experienced commissioning agents during actual commissioning to gain hands-on experience.
In order to ensure sustainable, ongoing energy savings, the University staff, again with the help of the utilities and expert subcontractors, will establish a program to continuously commission the buildings, using monitoring systems to ensure ongoing efficient operations. As with the Retro-Commissioning activity, this aspect of the program will be depend upon the Best Practices training received under the third element of this partnership proposal (Training and Education). Campus facilities management staff will attend Commissioning Best Practices classroom training sessions annually to ensure their commissioning skills remain current and new campus facilities management staff receive adequate training. Ultimately, UC/CSU will have both the trained staff, and the permanent monitoring systems to continue to commission the buildings over time, thereby ensuring persistent energy savings. The facilities on UC/CSU campuses are often similar to one another; and the experience gained from performing a retro-/continuous commissioning project on one facility can be reproduced on another facility on a different campus.
Both the retro-commissioning and continuous commissioning effort will also be developed and implemented so as to identify cost-effective future energy retrofit projects. The combination of retro-commissioning and continuous commissioning will extend the useful life (and energy savings) of the commissioning measures beyond the persistence assumed to date from existing retro-commissioning programs. The UC/CSU/IOU team will coordinate with other organizations and institutions performing building retro commissioning studies and programs.
Monitoring-Based Commissioning: Benchmarking Analysis of 24 UC/CSU/IOU Projects