Even though the definition of existing-building commissioning (EBCx) is given as “a systematic process for investigating, analyzing, and optimizing the performance of building systems through the identification … of … facility-improvement measures and ensuring their continued performance,” the article “Existing-Building Commissioning” (December 2009) does not address the assessment of whether a healthy and productive indoor environment is being achieved.

Shouldn't the definition of EBCx be expanded to include monitoring, review, and analysis of carbon-dioxide concentrations and dew-point temperatures for the assessment of ventilation and moisture-management performance, a crucial component of how a building is operated? After all, buildings are not created to use energy, but to provide a healthy and productive indoor environment. Shouldn't success or failure in that respect be included in any assessment of performance?
David W. Bearg, PE, CIH
Life Energy Associates
Concord, Mass
.

Author's response:

Yes, indeed, Continuous Commissioning and its component monitoring, verification, and ongoing trend logging should be implemented as part of EBCx. This is a big part of the advantage EBCx has over old-fashioned energy audits and building tune-ups. It is included in Table 1 of the article as “Transition to continuous Cx made and monitoring, verification, and ongoing trend logging implemented.”

For indoor-air-quality (IAQ) measurement and verification to happen, two of the activities preceding it in Table 1 — revising operation-and-maintenance (O&M) procedures and re-training the O&M staff — are crucial. New sensors and monitoring points should be added as required, and/or temporary portable equipment should be brought in for the short term to establish a baseline. Operators then can run weekly graphs that show IAQ parameters. Energy graphs provide the fast feedback needed to get energy-wasting failures corrected quickly.
Ron Wilkinson, PE, LEED AP
AKF Group LLC
New York, N.Y.

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