The Wonders of Big Data and Commissioning Practices

Technology—Performance Art & Science

Commercial Property Executive, August Issue. Image credit: weinstock

As information technology improves and building owners accept commissioning as standard practice, that would seem to mean smooth sailing for commissioning as an integral part of development and property management. Naturally, things aren’t that simple.

To address challenges, in 2013 the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers published “The Commissioning Process for Buildings and Systems.” Also known as Standard 202, the wide-ranging document outlines the roles and responsibilities of team members in contract-enforceable language and defines the deliverables that building owners can expect from the process. Owners can refer to Standard 202 to help them obtain consistency when requesting commissioning services.

Other sources of information to help keep up with changes in commissioning include the Building Commissioning Association (BCxA), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the California Commissioning Collaborative (CCC), the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the Building Enclosure Commissioning Collaborative (BECxC) and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), among others.

These authoritative sources help owners and managers address another challenge: overpromising. For all its merits, commisioning is no miracle cure for a poorly functioning property.

But, Carroll asserted, some vendors are promising energy savings of 10 or 20 percent by replacing the commissioning agent with automation and attributing the improvement to the wonders of Big Data.

“These claims are very enticing to an uneducated owner,” he said. “Never mind that these energy savings claims haven’t been verified or even studied yet.”

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