Monitoring-based commissioning’s constant data find energy issues faster

The world is rapidly advancing — we see it every day in our e-readers and on our tablet screens. This rapid advancement is as true for building managers as it is in any other profession. New buildings have temperature sensors, carbon dioxide sensors, photocells, submetering, differential pressure sensors … and on the list goes. All these sensors create a deluge of data that most building and facility managers are poorly equipped to handle. Commissioning providers, on the other hand, are well-prepared to handle this deluge. This can be done through retro-commissioning (RCx), which is a snapshot of a building’s health, or it can be done dynamically through monitoring-based commissioning (MBCx).

Commissioning providers have traditionally acted as a bridge, connecting the engineer, contractor and building owner. This role creates agents who are as fluent in the design stages of the construction process as they are in the proper operation of the equipment. Now, as building operations have become increasingly complex, there is space for this commissioning expertise to be applied in new ways. Commissioning providers can offer their expertise with analysis tools to help owners be proactive, instead of reactive, to equipment faults, and together, the owner and the commissioning provider can identify energy management best practices.

According to a 2019 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study that tracked savings associated with fault detection diagnostic tools and energy management software for the last five years, building owners who used MBCx in conjunction with energy management information systems, on average, have annual energy use savings of 9%, or $0.24 per square foot, and these savings tend to increase the longer the system is in use.

Participant energy savings for participants since the installation of fault detection and diagnostic tools (FDD) (n = 26 in Year 1). Graph provided by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

These savings presented by the study hold true, probably truer, in existing buildings. The MBCx process can be implemented after a building has undergone RCx. When MBCx is tied with RCx, older buildings can be brought in line with the current expectations of comfort, indoor air quality and energy savings and be made to stay there.

For more information about monitoring-based commissioning, contact Mat Coalson at

Posted on March 12, 2020