Monitoring-based commissioning maximizes building energy performance
Many commercial and industrial buildings do not perform efficiently and will become less efficient over time, resulting in higher than anticipated energy use and costs. One of the ways building owners can address this is through the use of building energy commissioning. In particular, monitoring-based commissioning (MBCx) helps make sure that a building only uses the energy it really needs. MBCx does a thorough check on operational systems, identifying root causes of any mechanical problems and uncovering operational deficiencies, and uses data to inform the process and guide continuous improvement. For companies and organizations looking to maximize energy savings and equipment efficiency, MBCx provides the framework to achieve greater operational performance.
What is Monitoring-Based Commissioning?
Monitoring-based commissioning is different than other forms of building energy commissioning because of its emphasis on the use of technology and software to collect, analyze, and report data. MBCx implements an ongoing commissioning process with a focus on monitoring and analyzing large amounts of data on a continuous basis to optimize building energy performance and efficiency. An integral component of MBCx is using energy management information systems (EMIS) – software tools that monitor, analyze, and control building energy use and system performance. Ideally, software should be implemented after a building has completed a building energy commissioning process to ensure the building is operating properly and a baseline operation is established. The building systems will then be continuously monitored and compared to the baseline.
With MBCx in place, the qualitative and quantitative assessments help detect any decline in building performance (known as building or energy drift). Once any drift has been detected, action can be taken to address any identified issues. Whether it is a clear recommended action such as fixing a failing HVAC system, or signs that a larger effort such as re-commissioning the building may be needed, MBCx ensures a building can be continuously maintained to help energy consumption and occupant comfort.
EMIS integration for operational visibility
An EMIS makes energy performance visible to different levels of the organization by converting energy and utility driver data at energy account centers into energy performance information. The software uses performance metrics that are compared with the organization’s energy targets. EMIS captures and provides data to inform retrofit strategies or validate energy savings. In addition to energy savings and subsequent utility cost savings, this approach also offers operations and maintenance (O&M) staff labor savings due to improved operations.
While integrating EMIS into operations is a key step in MBCx, its effectiveness depends on several factors. The technical quality of the software and installation are critical in a good start. In addition, the ability of users to interpret and prioritize system outputs can vary – but is an important part of getting the most out of the process. Finally, realizing savings depends on a customer’s commitment, ability, and motivation to execute on identified energy saving opportunities.
Increasing persistence of savings
The persistence of energy savings is an important consideration; it refers to how long energy savings will last years after a MBCx effort is complete. There are many factors that can increase the persistence of savings, including:
- Reprogramming of sequencing operations or other controls
- Operator training
- Long-term service agreements
- Organizational processes that enable energy conservation
Leidos has worked with utilities across the country to assist customers with implementing a wide range of commissioning programs – including successful MBCx offerings. Given the operational complexity of many large facilities, our team’s knowledge and expertise allows us to guide customers through the entire MBCx process and turn data into practical actions. For more information on Leidos and our MBCx program expertise, contact our team.