A Study on Energy Savings and Measure Cost Effectiveness of Existing Building Commissioning

December 15th, 2009

PECI’s overarching goal for this research is to conduct a cost benefit analysis of Existing
Building Commissioning (EBCx) measures. An EBCx measure is the implemented solution to an
operational deficiency in a building. While the cost-effectiveness of the EBCx process as a whole
has been analyzed in-depth, there is a need to analyze individual measures implemented through
the EBCx process in greater depth to inform utilities and building owners about measure cost
effectiveness and the most commonly implemented measures in buildings. As such, the analysis
focuses on the cost and benefit associated with individual measures, and does not consider
project-level costs, such as the cost of investigation, or benefits.

Recent studies have examined the Existing Building Commissioning (EBCx) process and have
determined EBCx projects to be a cost effective approach to achieve energy savings. However,
there is limited information available about costs and savings at the measure level. As more
utilities engage in commissioning, there is a need to document and disseminate information about
measure cost effectiveness and applicability to help guide future program design. This research
meets this growing need by providing building owners, utilities and program implementers with
an analysis of existing building commissioning measures implemented through programs across
the country.

Information on commissioning measures implemented under utility programs across the United
States was collected from 11 utilities known to conduct EBCx programs. In total, data on 122
commissioning projects and over 950 commissioning measures was received. From this, a data
set was constructed representing a variety of building types, sizes, ages and climate zones, and
contained data on measure types, savings, and costs. Gaps in the data set are addressed
throughout the analysis.

The submitted measures were categorized into 44 measure types. Energy savings (kBtu/sq.ft.yr) and simple payback were calculated for each measure type. Controls measures constituted the most of the top savings measures and the majority (91%) of the 44 measure types had a simple payback of less than two years.

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