Commissioning (not just) for California

For many years, California has led the way in progressive energy efficient building measures, and the state is pursuing an aggressive long-term goal of making 50 percent of all existing commercial buildings net zero by 2030. To this end, the California Commissioning Collaborative recently organized a workshop that convened a broad cross-section of industry experts to explore market-driven ways to further promote increased building efficiency. They also examined  how commercial whole building approaches can provide a pathway to deeper energy savings through various measures including retrofits and commissioning.Commissioning is a peer review or onsite verification process that ASHRAE defines as “a quality-oriented process for achieving, verifying, and documenting that the performance of facilities, systems, and assemblies meets defined objectives and criteria.” The strategy represents a powerful, though still underutilized, measure in realizing energy savings in both new and existing buildings. A comprehensive partnership in California oversaw the commissioning of 156 buildings but, although the efforts have been ongoing since 2004, because they were broken into multiple utility cycles, they could not effectively track persistence of savings.Nonetheless, commissioning promises to play an increasingly important role in California, and elsewhere, especially as building codes (like the IgCC) move toward performance-based approaches that acknowledge building performance as being holistic. Going further, outcome-based codes, which NBI has long championed, would require performance measurement after construction or renovation. Commissioning would undoubtedly help achieve synergy between outcome-based codes and whole-building approaches for utility programs – and their customers. For more on commissioning, visit PECI.