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What is Retro-Commissioning?

Updated: Sep 10, 2019

Your car needs a regular tune-up to run optimally, so why wouldn’t your building? Often, the energy systems in a building, such as HVAC and lighting, are not programmed to match the way a building is used, which can result in wasted energy. Not only has your equipment aged since installation, but the needs of the building may have changed. Retro-commissioning seeks to match the way these energy systems run to the needs of your facility.

Why should you consider a retro-commissioning study?

Retro-commissioning (RCx) is the adjustment of existing equipment and controls to improve the use, comfort and energy consumption of a building. A retro-commissioning study will consider how your building is currently operating versus how it should be operating to save you energy and money. You can address and resolve problems that may have occurred in the design and construction phase as well as issues that have arisen due to human or mechanical error.


A successful retro-commissioning study will look at your building automation system to uncover inaccuracies in the way your facility runs. For example, you could have a system that is simultaneously heating and cooling, lights powering on when no one is in the building, thermostats that are not set properly, economizers that aren’t working efficiently or variable speed drives that are running at an unnecessarily high level.

Costs and Benefits

A building retro-commissioning report will provide recommendations that are little to no cost to implement but with significant cost savings. Benefits include reduced operating costs, reduced energy use, better working environment, less complaints and an increase in property value. Not to mention, the payback period for these upgrades is typically measured in months, not years.

We’ve had an energy assessment done, what is difference?

Energy assessments are a great way to uncover capital improvements such as lighting upgrades or HVAC retrofits. Unlike an energy assessment, retro-commissioning will uncover operational improvements to optimize your current equipment. For example, an energy assessment report may tell you that you can save $10,000 a year by switching out your fluorescent lights for LEDs. A retro-commissioning report on the other hand, will tell you to schedule your lights to turn off at 7 p.m. when everyone has left the building. Both improvements will save you money, just in different ways.

What makes a good retro-commissioning project?

Although anyone can benefit from a retro-commissioning project, it helps if your building is equipped with a building automation system. This way our engineers can easily suggest schedule changes that will help your building run more efficiently.

If you have questions on retro-commissioning or would like to get your facility scheduled, please contact Ryan Curry at


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