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We’re here to help. Contact us if you need assistance reopening your institution amidst COVID-19.
Commissioning (Cx) is a holistic approach to verifying and optimizing energy-consuming systems with respect to design, installation, operation, and maintenance. This in-depth process identifies system issues to ensure proper operation and occupant comfort, while highlighting opportunities for energy savings.
Commissioning is an important part of whole-building management and helps to correct issues found within any building type and infrastructure. The USGBC recognizes the importance of Cx as a building performance quality assurance process and requires it for LEED certification.
How do you modify HVAC systems operations to prioritize the health and wellness of building occupants in a post-pandemic world?
Invite The Stone House Group to survey your systems and identify opportunities for modifications. Managing the changes to facilities operations in the age of COVID-19 can feel overwhelming. Using guidance from OSHA, the CDC and others, however, we can develop and implement control strategies, including dilution, filtration, and schedule modifications that will support the health and wellness of your school community. John Pozzetta, CEM at The Stone House Group, authored an article on this topic and published in NBOA’s Net Assets and can be found here.
HVAC Operations is one component of our Pandemic Response Program, which is summarized in the following image.
The two other components of our approach can be found here:
How do you correct deficiencies in your building and achieve lower operating costs?
Retro-commission your existing building. Retro-commissioning begins with a planning phase for the project, which deepens our understanding through onsite investigation, and is ideal when improvements are implemented and operations are turned over to the owner and operators. The Stone House Group stresses the importance of monitoring and controlling energy consumption and its associated cost in buildings. The energy cost of a building represents a significant percentage of the life cycle cost of the building and if systems are not operating properly and efficiently, the increased costs could be significant over the life of the building.
By understanding current operating protocols, campus-wide maintenance standards, and long-term planning strategies into which a building must fit, The Stone House Group’s retro-commissioning plan considers the future impact of HVAC retrofits and upgrades on the long-term viability of maintaining the building. Preparing a master log of deficiencies and potential improvements provides a starting point to identify potential equipment repairs and improvements.
What are some necessary steps to achieving a LEED Certified Building?
Follow the LEED Fundamental and Enhanced Commissioning guidelines. A prerequisite to LEED certification, LEED Fundamental Commissioning is a multi-disciplined process that ensures a new building operates as intended while avoiding design, installation, and functional issues in the future. The Stone House Group engineers are highly knowledgeable in ASHRAE, BCxA, PECI, SMACNA, NFPA, NETA and many other commissioning and building standards. The Stone House Group’s Fundamental Commissioning process assists design teams in reviewing the Owner’s Project Requirements and basis of Design, developing and implementing a commissioning plan, developing and executing construction checklists and functional test procedures, logging commissioning issues through all phases, and documenting all findings and recommendations to the Owner. Additionally, LEED Enhanced Commissioning can be pursued for certification points in which The Stone House Group provides valuable input reviewing contractor submittals, performing design reviews during design development and construction development, verifying inclusion of systems manual requirements in construction documents, verifying operator and occupant training, and reviewing building operations ten months after substantial completion. This process identifies extensive recommendations that result in improved energy efficiency, safety, maintenance, and reduced operating costs.
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How do you ensure integrity of your building for years to come?
Retain The Stone House Group as a Building Envelope Commissioning Agent. The Stone House Group envelope consultants are innovative and valuable assets for any project team, and provide great benefit to the building performance throughout the life of the structure. The Stone House Group’s Building Envelope Consulting process provides design and construction support, helping guide a project team through all steps of construction from design reviews to on-site inspections. The Stone House Group can satisfy requirements of the LEEDv4 building envelope commissioning credit. Our BECx agent reviews enclosure submittals, verifies inclusion of systems manual information in construction documents, verifies operator and occupant training, and reviews building operations after occupancy. Our expertise in envelope materials, moisture migration, and thermal performance of enclosure systems prevents assembly failure before it ever becomes a problem.
How can you confirm a building’s structural integrity without resorting to destructive testing?
Use thermal imaging. The Stone House Group owns a thermal imaging camera to scan building envelopes and electrical panels. The process helps to determine whether there is evidence of significant thermal loss in buildings, determine areas of moisture or leakage without destructive testing, and observe electric panel load.
Does your building control system have a low occupancy mode?
If it does not, the control system may need a tune up. The first step to managing your Building Automation System (BAS) is verifying that existing systems are at their most productive. Utilizing all available energy optimization functions, such as CO2 sensors and economizer cycles, and making programmatic changes is an important effort in achieving better control and payback.