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ARCHIVED - Recommissioning (RCx) Guide for Building Owners and Managers

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PDF Version (4 MB)

Portland Energy Conservation Energy Inc.

CETC Number 2008-167 / 2008-11-20


This Recommissioning Guide for Building Owners and Managers (the "RCx Guide") illustrates how building owners and managers can successfully use recommissioning as a cost-effective method to reduce expenses and increase revenue through improved building operations. The more an owner is involved in the recommissioning process, the lower the costs, the larger the benefits, and the longer the impact. This guide was created to address the opportunities that owners and managers have to significantly increase the benefits of recommissioning in their buildings. Additionally, it is intended to provide guidance for recommissioning participants by setting expectations regarding the process and outcomes of recommissioning.

This guide will be useful to all professionals involved in building design, management and

  • Director or chief of engineering
  • Property or facility manager
  • Property management firms
  • Operation and maintenance staff
  • Control technicians and building automation supervisors
  • Recommissioning service provider
  • Consultants in energy management
  • Professors and students in building science and engineering

Building owners and managers can use this document as a guide to better understand the impact of the recommissioning (RCx) process and communicate to others about issues, benefits, and need for staff involvement. As the recommissioning team moves through each phase of the RCx process, the individual charged with leading the effort on the owner’s side (referred to as the owner’s representative or simply "owner" throughout the remainder of this document) can use this guide as a reference to gain a better understanding of each phase and to lead the team in taking the appropriate steps to ensure success.

The RCx Guide is designed to guide the owner in achieving the following components of a successful and cost-effective recommissioning project:

  • Facility staff is able to complete a portion of the work – reducing the budget required to pay the recommissioning provider or subcontractor
  • Building staff learn about enhancing the operation of their building as they work alongside the recommissioning professionals, improving their ability to maintain the performance of systems after the project is complete
  • Budgeting for recommissioning flows smoothly because the owner understands the  associated benefits
  • Short and long-term plans for implementing improvements are created recommissioning opportunities are assessed for risk management and the potential to generate revenue and reduce expense, and the costs are integrated with budget planning
  • Benefits are long lasting through the implementation of persistence strategies

The first two chapters of this guide, "Building Performance as a Business Strategy" and
"Investing in Recommissioning" are written with the financial decision maker in mind. In some cases, that may be a corporate financial officer (CFO) or a designated energy manager. In other situations, it may be a private building owner or owner’s representative. It is critical that the person in control of allocating operational budgets understands the financial rationale and economic opportunity of recommissioning.

The chapter entitled "Project Basics" includes a quick summary of the recommissioning process, an explanation of the roles and responsibilities of the team, and a final checklist of "Key Strategies for Success." The "Key Strategies for Success" checklist acts as a portal into the rest of the document and provides quick links to critical information as the reader embarks on and moves through a recommissioning project.

The remainder of the Guide expands on the process steps summarized in the "Project Basics" chapter and is divided into 6 parts:

  • Project Planning – Part 1: Building(s) Pre-screening Selection
  • Project Planning – Part 2: Selected Building RCx Scoping
  • Investigation
  • Implementation
  • Project Hand-Off
  • Making Recommissioning Benefits Last

All along the RCx Guide, links to complementary resources and tools are provided to help understanding and managing the recommissioning process. Those resources build on existing ones and address new concepts and practices in the industry. They provide a comprehensive range of sample documents for both recommissioning customers and practitioners.

This RCx Guide is intended to increase clarity and consistency of market standards for
both recommissioning providers and building owners. It also presents a clear methodology to improve a building’s energy performance and create a long-term energy management strategy by recommissioning appropriate buildings from a portfolio of buildings.

Natural Resources Canada’s CanmetENERGY provides the RCx Guide to help improve
whole building performance through persistent, cost-effective building operations improvements that are in line with building owners’ budgets and practical needs.

To learn more about CanmetENERGY's activities related to building operation, visit the Building Operation Optimization section of the website.

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