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Why Building Regulations Should Include Retro-Commissioning

New York celebrated Earth Day by signing the most ambitious energy efficiency legislation in the country. The Climate Mobilization Act is a bundle of six bills focused on making New York City a hub for the fight against climate change. This legislation aims to reduce the City’s greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. Buildings that do not comply with the new rules will face hefty fines, and offenders such as the Trump International Hotel and Tower are already seeing the effects of this legislation.

Buildings account for nearly 70 percent of New York’s emissions making the Climate Mobilization Act a major step for the City. To increase building efficiency and reduce state-wide greenhouse gas emissions, the new legislation requires buildings greater than 25,000 square feet to complete energy saving retrofits such as new windows, lighting, or insulation. This ruling expands on established energy requirements such as New York Local Law 87 that requires buildings greater than 50,000 square feet to receive an energy audit and retro-commissioning study every 10 years.

Retro-commissioning is one of the most cost effective and efficient ways to go about reducing energy demand, yet New York is the only state in the U.S. with federal retro-commissioning requirements. When buildings are not operating as intended, switching out lights or upgrading HVAC, while great for reducing energy consumption, will not fix the underlying issue. Retro-commissioning takes energy use back to the source by uncovering low-cost operational opportunities intended to get your building back to peak performance. Often, the energy systems in a building are not programmed to match the way a building is used, which can result in wasted energy. Retro-commissioning will address and solve energy issues that may have occurred in the design and construction phase as well as mechanical errors.

There is no one-size fits all when it comes to energy efficiency. Therefore, we offer a range of retro-commissioning studies to match the energy demand and specialized needs of your facility. For example, Monitoring Based Commissioning (MBCx) is our most involved study and seeks to provide customers with an in-depth analysis of building energy performance. Through MBCx, a monitoring software is installed directly onto the building automation system. This allows our engineers to analyze your energy consumption in real time to uncover opportunities for improvement. A general retro-commissioning report could uncover that your system dampers are not working correctly, your temperature set points are too high or too low, or your building is powering on during unoccupied hours.

Facility managers who have taken advantage of retro-commissioning services see an average annual energy savings of five percent with a payback period generally measured in months, not years. The study also works to reduce equipment maintenance costs, improve building comfort, and provide you a greater understanding of building operations.

Retro-commissioning is one of the best investments you could make. Schedule your study today by contacting Senior Program Manager, Ryan Curry, at or 312-267-2864.


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