Part 4 of 4: Optimizing
Monitoring-based Commissioning

In Part 1, I shared a proven way owners are sustaining optimum facility performance at maximum return-on-investment by replacing a sporadic, project-by-project approach with a lower-cost, continuous process. The key attributes of this unique approach include:
  • Continuous, consistent, comprehensive
  • Always adapting, improving
  • All opportunities identified and prioritized
  • Low cost of entry
  • Analytics-enhanced
  • Vendor neutral

The three key steps, that become a reinforcing loop, are:

  • Strategy: set metrics, goals and timeline
  • Plan: Establish and apply best practices and tools: templates, checklists, master documents and standards
  • Execution: Manage and measure results, creating learning loops to the strategy and plan

Maximizing Monitoring-based Commissioning (MBCx) ROI

In Part 2 and Part 3, I addressed retro-commissioning of existing facilities, and commissioning of new or renovated facilities respectively. In this final installment, we wrap things up with the transition from RCx and Cx to monitoring-based commissioning. MBCx is a portfolio-wide platform that uses system data and fault detection and diagnostics (FDD) analytics technology to optimize facility performance. The outline of the MBCx optimization process is as follows:

  • Strategy a statement describing how you will apply the monitoring-based commissioning process to your facilities to maximize return on investment, and sustain operational efficiencies gained from retro-commissioning or commissioning

  • Plan select a software platform and a pilot facility, and begin establishing and applying metrics, best practices and tools; example master documents used by owners may include:
    • Analytics Software
    • Team Roles and Responsibilities
    • Master Scope of Services
    • Process Set Up and Management
    • Utility Incentives

  • Execution manage and measure results using your established metrics, and create learning loops to improve your future strategy and plan

Analytics Software: The critical first step of MBCx is the selection of the best software platform. I’ve seen a great deal of money and time invested in a platform that turned out not to be the best fit. There are many options, but only a few that are worth consideration based on: market penetration, overall capabilities, programmability, etc.

Integration is the Key: It is important to perform MBCx as an extension of RCx and Cx to create a continuous, comprehensive process. Otherwise, degradation will wipe out much of the optimization in a few years. The key to overall, sustained optimization is the integration of the individual optimization strategies and plans. Monitoring-based commissioning also has a direct link to utility analytics for tracking actual results.

Proven Results: : I have been asked “What if we install fault detection and diagnostics only to find we have few if any faults? We operate our facilities very effectively; seems we would be wasting our money.” MEP systems and equipment in buildings can be very complex, and are not self-correcting when something fails or is changed. Our universal experience is many faults are generated each month, thereby yielding a high return-on-investment. The alternative is a more-costly retro-commissioning every 3-5 years. Here are a few tips to maximize your ROI:
  • Thoroughly assess the many software platforms, and select the platform this is best for your organization and portfolio
  • Establish criteria for what building size and system complexity make sense to monitor
  • Ensure your base cost – monitoring only – is at an appropriate level of investment should faults be at a minimum in some months
  • Start with a pilot facility to experience the results before rolling out a portfolio-wide program

Full ROI: While the MBCx financial (energy savings and utility incentives) return has the most immediate impact, the full ROI includes maximizing:
  • Operation and maintenance savings
  • Equipment life
  • Occupant comfort/health/productivity
  • Carbon emissions reduction

Low Cost of Entry: The establishment of MBCx on a pilot facility is recommended, and in the grand scheme of things, is a nominal investment. It is critical to fully assess the many software platform options prior to proceeding; selecting the wrong platform can cause a major cost down the road.

To learn more about how your peers are strategically planning and executing to deliver maximum facility return-on-investment, email me at or call me at (314) 309-2029 to arrange a complimentary session.

Sitton Energy Solutions and Sitton Construction Solutions offer a unique, integrated approach to maximizing your facility investments.

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