Tips and tricks for commissioning, balancing buildings
CSE: What are some of the tools and systems you rely on to commission projects?
Feyler: In addition to the obvious ladders for above-ceiling observation, heat guns, digital thermometers, light and sound meters, stop watch, and laser pointers are used during the testing phase. During testing of sophisticated systems, our firm will have verbiage in the commissioning specifications that the contractor is to provide a third-party certified testing agency for infrared scanning, power quality metering, and NETA electrical testing. RDK will also carry a third-party test-and-balance (TAB) contractor for the spot checking of the testing and balancing report, and in some cases the owner has RDK carry the TAB contractor under the commissioning services contract to facilitate the TAB contractor for the entire project. This scenario is beneficial to the owner and the CxA.
Szel: Some key tools are infrared temperature scanners, data loggers, and power quality monitors. It is important for there to be skilled technicians who can interpret the results. Also, patience is important for those days when the plan just doesn’t go as expected.
Wolff: It’s pretty typical for our commissioning engineers to use a digital multi-meter, noncontact thermometer, digital thermometer with insertion probes and thermocouples, IAQ meter, digital manometer, thermal imager, data loggers, laptop/tablet, and digital cameras.
York: Every CxA’s toolbox should contain a wide range of physical items: flow hood, pressure gauges (water and air), thermometers, hygrometers, data loggers, anemometer, voltmeter, ammeter, ground fault interruption (GFI) tester, screwdrivers, rulers, and camera; but more importantly should include proven process tools to collect and organize the enormous amount of data collected on a commissioning project. The CxA should also be able to rely on ASHRAE, NETA, NFPA, and AABC guidelines to help evaluate system performance.
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