Commissioning conference pegs vitality meter

Michael Ivanovich, Editor-in-Chief -- Consulting-Specifying Engineer, 5/1/2008

  Talk about buzz. The 16th National Conference on Building Commissioning (NCBC), produced by Portland Energy Conservation Inc. (PECI), had the noisy vibe of high-octane networking in hallways, at watering holes, and in expo booths that signaled a successful conference. More than 400 commissioning (Cx) providers, engineers, owners, and utility program administers converged from around the nation and world to swap war stories, provide updates on programs, and solicit input on emerging processes and procedures. Capping off NCBC was a heavily attended town hall meeting on the future of the Cx market.

Big news: Cx is such a strong industry throughout the United States that there is a persistent shortage of professionals to meet the work load. One driver is the pluckiness of the nonresidential construction and retrofit markets, despite the downturn in residential construction. Cx partially is buoyed by the green-buildings movement, with USGBC LEED NC and other LEED rating systems requiring plans for Cx and providing credits for implementing them to various levels. (Note: The new version of LEED EB has no prerequisites, but up to three points, for retrocommissioning). However, Cx clearly has spread beyond LEED, especially in critical facilities such as hospitals and laboratories, and in school buildings.
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