Over the past several years many people have misused the term “commissioning” when referring to design and construction projects. More often than not, they use the term in reference to a green building project, frequently viewing commissioning only as a step within the LEED Certification process. While the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program has brought the value of commissioning to the forefront by making it a requirement for certification, commissioning is a vital part of any construction program, regardless of sustainable goals or certification.
The commissioning process comprises many tasks and provides several benefits; however, it should be viewed as a rigorous quality control and verification process to confirm that building systems have been installed and are operating in the manner in which they were intended. Commissioning generally includes the energy-related systems/equipment (e.g., mechanical and electrical), although other components like the building envelope may also be included. The process includes detailed review and testing of installed systems to validate compliance. Commissioning also provides the building owner and operator with the necessary tools to optimally operate the facility.
LEED Certification entails the documentation of the building design and construction with respect to the United States Green Building Council’s LEED rating system. The certification level of a building is determined based upon the extent of a building’s design in compliance with prescribed requirements of the rating system. For more information on the LEED rating system refer to https://www.usgbc.org/.
While commissioning is a requirement of LEED Certification, it is also a technique that is highly beneficial for any project, regardless whether or not the project is slated for LEED certification.
For more information on commissioning refer to: https://www.peci.org/resources/commissioning.html and https://apps1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/publications/pdfs/commercial_initiative/sustainable_guide_ch9.pdf.