Ten ways to incorporate technology into your commissioning process

Here are the top 10 recommended methods for incorporating technology solutions into the commissioning process and improving building performance.


The top 10 recommended methods for incorporating technology solutions into the commissioning process and improving building performance are:

  1. Align technology solutions to end-user capabilities
  2. Implement technology applications that fit into day-to-day operations
  3. Manage the risk of innovation by adopting new solutions with pilot and small-scale test cases
  4. Focus technology on solutions that directly support project goals
  5. Trust but verify promises by big data analytics firms (if it seems too good to be true, it probably is)
  6. Make sure big data analytics requirements are documented in the owners project requirements (OPR) and current facility requirements documents
  7. Ensure sensors from which building data will be collected are verified for accuracy (the output is only as good as the input)
  8. Define the process of moving from data inferences to actionable tasks within the building (checks and balances)
  9. Align big data analytics reporting with owners' needs (owners should not need to complete any post-processing of data)
  10. Ensure project-focused evaluation capabilities such as:
  • Point-to-point verification of all critical data pathways and end devices
  • Verification of database setup, efficiency, and accessibility
  • Data-backup system verification
  • Functional testing of technology solutions
  • A review of common pitfalls and recommendations for successful technology implementation.

How much is too much data?

As the effort to integrate and connect to continuous streams of building information becomes easier in light of technology advances, McKinstry is seeing issues develop with "analysis paralysis"—cases where too much data makes the identification of meaningful information nearly impossible.

In response, successful methods to monitoring-based commissioning (MBCx) applications are integrating thousands of points for a building using a more engineered and deliberate approach. These applications identify, map, and track only the data points most valuable to the client/process, with a preconceived strategy for how that data will be used to provide value.

Buildings that McKinstry monitors today now are limited to several hundred points with the outcome being far better. As a result of this approach, McKinstry engineers are able to more quickly identify performance issues, troubleshoot and identify resolutions, and fix issues.

Michael Chimack is the director of the energy services center of excellence for Siemens Building Technologies, providing comprehensive building performance optimization solutions throughout North America.

Jesse Sycuro is account executive for energy and facility services at McKinstry, providing smart building solutions nationwide with energy management, monitoring-based commissioning, and analytics solutions for building optimization. This article is authored by members of the Building Commissioning Association, a Consulting-Specifying Engineer content partner.

Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
How to use IPD; 2017 Commissioning Giants; CFDs and harmonic mitigation; Eight steps to determine plumbing system requirements
2017 MEP Giants; Mergers and acquisitions report; ASHRAE 62.1; LEED v4 updates and tips; Understanding overcurrent protection
Integrating electrical and HVAC for energy efficiency; Mixed-use buildings; ASHRAE 90.4; Wireless fire alarms assessment and challenges
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
Transformers; Electrical system design; Selecting and sizing transformers; Grounded and ungrounded system design, Paralleling generator systems
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; VFDs in high-performance buildings
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me