Engineering Economics, Inc. (EEI) is a leading provider of retro-commissioning services in the United States. Our success in this market stems largely from our deep-rooted history in the energy conservation and retrofit engineering markets. Since 1984, EEI has focused on retrofit design, energy conservation, quality assurance (traditional commissioning) and troubleshooting services. In many ways, these services are the cornerstones of modern-day retro-commissioning.
Our retro-commissioning clients have included some of the nation's leading private companies and public institutions, including the U.S. Federal Government and several national hospital networks. EEI is presently a Federal Schedule and Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Contract Holder for the General Services Administration and the U.S. Postal Service. EEI is also a preferred retro-commissioning service provider for several of the nation's leading utility companies. In this role, EEI provides retro-commissioning services through the utility's energy programs, which oftentimes provide rebate incentives covering all or a significant portion of the study cost.
The Case for Retro-Commissioning
Buildings frequently undergo operational and occupancy changes that challenge the existing mechanical, electrical and controls systems and/or hinder optimal performance. Additionally, today’s complex building systems are highly dependent on sophisticated control systems. These systems can inadvertently have a trickle-down effect on building operations – small problems can have big effects on performance.
Most buildings have never gone through any type of commissioning process and even well-constructed buildings experience performance degradation over time. No matter how well building operators and service contractors maintain equipment, if it operates inefficiently or more often than needed, energy waste and reliability problems can occur. These issues create an opportunity for improved performance through the application of retro-commissioning as a systematic evaluation and improvement process.
Retro-commissioning can produce significant cost savings in existing buildings. Savings vary depending upon the building type, its location and the scope of the retro-commissioning process. Typically, cost savings occur in the following ranges:
- Value of energy savings: $0.11 - $0.72/SF
- Value of non-energy savings: $0.10 - $0.45/SF
According to a study by Evan Mills of Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory and sponsored by the California Energy Commission in 2009, retro-commissioning (on average) reduces energy usage by 16%, pays for itself in 1.1 years and generates a 91% cash-on-cash return on investment. This has certainly been our clients' experience.
The many documented benefits resulting from retro-commissioning include:
- Improved system operation
- Improved equipment performance
- Increased operations & maintenance staff capabilities and expertise
- Increased asset value
- Energy savings
- Improved environmental control
- Improved occupant comfort
- Improved indoor environmental quality
- Improved building documentation
- Reduced operating and maintenance costs
- Reduced maintenance/troubleshooting issues
For additional information on retro-commissioning, explore the Commissioning Q&A link on the menu to the left.
EEI customizes its retro-commissioning services to each client's project goals and may be directed toward specific problem areas in a facility. The following services are available through a comprehensive retro-commissioning program:
Existing Facility Evaluation
- Identification of facility manager goals and objectives
- Facility walk-through
- Existing documentation review and analysis
- Preparation of one-line diagrams
- System testing to establish current system performance
- Compilation and analysis of data
Retro-Commissioning Plan Development
- Systems identification
- Equipment lists
- Testing priorities and schedules
- Test procedure development
Retro-Commissioning Plan Execution
- Equipment data collection and analysis
- Direct digital control verification and calibration
- Field testing of equipment
- Performance testing (partial- and full-load)
- Compilation/evaluation of collected data
- Development and presentation of recommendations with estimated budgets and project payback
- Replacement/installation of minor equipment
- Controls adjustments
- System tuning
- Development of detailed design/construction scopes of work
- Development of detailed project budgets
- Peer review of design
- Construction administration
- Construction management (without risk)
Final Verification Phase
- Functional testing of revitalized systems
- Review of test results against prior measurements
- Final report to owner
Alternative Funding: Shared Savings
Retro-commissioning may be provided on a fee-for-service or shared-savings basis. If the facility owner cannot afford the retro-commissioning study or the implementation of its recommendations -- and the potential for energy savings is there -- EEI may offer to provide its services through a shared-savings program. However, once clients see the savings potential, most opt to self-fund the program.
Contact EEI today for a free consultation to explore how retro-commissioning might benefit your organization.