Leverage commissioning to prepare for new KC building regulations

As seen in the Kansas City Business Journal.

McCownGordon Construction is well known for its construction projects throughout Kansas City. Some of the most noticeable are Children’s Mercy Research Tower, 46Penn, North Kansas City School District, Garmin and Olathe Library.

But did you know McCownGordon has a commissioning team that ensures the building’s working units (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, etc.) are installed and operating efficiently for long-term success? If those elements don’t function as intended then a building’s operating costs can be more than planned, negatively affecting both the occupants and the budget. Yes, the construction team, engineers and trade partners all make sure the equipment is working, but our commissioning team — made up of commercial building system specialists — makes sure it’s working together and in the most efficient manner.

Owners seeking LEED certification or other sustainability goals gain added value through the commissioning process since it’s essential to securing those designations. However, local code requirements also may determine whether commissioning makes sense for your building.

Beginning later this year, IECC 2021 goes into effect in Kansas City, Missouri, for buildings permitted after July 1. The new code requires commissioning of the buildings energy consuming equipment/systems and requires air leakage testing for building pressurization.

The commissioning team at McCownGordon communicates the owner’s expectations to all parties and works with the construction team to achieve, validate and document how to meet them. For your building, the commissioning team spends time reviewing and testing the systems and equipment holistically to meet expectations.

For owners, that means the building operates with optimal energy efficiency, systems achieve maximum durability and occupants enjoy a more comfortable environment with better indoor air quality and temperature control. Importantly, commissioning delivers cost savings for owners. In fact, most commissioning projects deliver energy savings ranging from 3% to 16% and can cut equipment maintenance costs by as much as 20% while also ensuring better performance. The same efforts that save money also foster increased building comfort and extend equipment life. As a result, commissioning projects typically pay for themselves within 18 months to four years.

Because we don’t design or install the equipment, our commissioning team is impartial from the engineering team and trade partners. The commissioning team’s experience and understanding of design, energy efficiency and construction give them a unique advantage in helping you achieve your project goals when the building is ready for you to take occupancy and over the life cycle of your building.

The McCownGordon commissioning team serves as an extension of our construction team, they understand the design intent, construction scope and overall project schedule. This allows them to build commissioning tasks into the construction schedule to simplify communication, reduce costs and delays and ensure your project is ready for turn-over as construction wraps up.

You can take advantage of commissioning even if your building isn’t new. Buildings often benefit from recalibrating their systems, since equipment can drift from original settings over time. And if your building was never commissioned in the first place, our commissioning team can provide a comprehensive evaluation of your systems functionality and performance to determine proactive actions you can take to maximize your existing equipment, ensuring optimal performance and improving the comfort of those who live and work in the building every day. This is called retro-commissioning.

A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that on average, 30% of energy used in commercial buildings is wasted. That energy waste in existing buildings stems from a variety of issues, such as HVAC system design flaws and broken dampers and valves, among a myriad of other challenges. An experienced commissioning team provides building owners with a comprehensive overview of the functionality and efficiency of everything from lighting to heating and cooling equipment to motors and variable frequency drives, offering solutions for enhancing systems and ensuring they work cohesively to deliver maximum performance and cost-effective operations.

Commissioning provides a multitude of benefits, and our commissioning team serves as another quality-focused service we provide to our clients and building owners throughout the Midwest. If you want to learn more about how commissioning can improve the performance of you building, download our guide to frequently asked questions about commissioning.