Commissioning is a core element of sustainable design practice. It ensures that sustainable design strategies and components are translated from contract documents into the built facility’s architectural fabric.
Our commissioning team comprehensively documents building requirements — owner objectives, intended building use, and systems performance goals — and systematically verifies these requirements are met throughout design, construction, acceptance, and occupancy.
Michael Eardley, PE, LEED, CCP
As the commissioning services leader, Michael Eardley develops and implements firm-wide practices and project execution as well as serving as commissioning project manager. He oversees all commissioning projects including new, existing, envelope, whole-building and ongoing commissioning, as well as measurement and verification.
Eardley frequently leads seminars for the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), and the National Conference on Building Commissioning (NCBC). He is a member of the ASHRAE Technical Committee 7.9 on Building Commissioning, serving as the Program Subcommittee chair; and is president of the Building Commissioning Association’s (BCA) Building Commissioning Certification Board. Eardley was recently named to the 2012 Consulting-Specifying Engineer 40 Under 40 list, recognizing his contributions to the profession.Email Michael Eardley »
Paul O. Cannon
Executive Director, New Ventures
With over 20 years of strategic marketing experience, Paul Cannon leads CannonDesign’s emerging business platforms that step beyond traditional architecture and design. These pursuits include facility optimization, commissioning and product design. He is responsible for the development and implementation of innovative strategies focused on building these efforts in line with the firm’s commitment to solving the greatest challenges facing our clients and society. Formerly responsible for leading the firm's national education practice, Cannon continues to utilize the firm’s Single-Firm, Multi-Office (SFMO®) practice approach to structure and mobilize project teams consistent with the needs of clients.Email Paul O. Cannon »
New Building Commissioning
New Building Cx begins in the planning phase and continues through construction, acceptance, and the warranty period. The owner’s requirements are clearly documented to ensure they are met throughout the project delivery process. The result? An operationally efficient and functional building. Tasks include:
- Design review & functional performance testing
- Building operator training
- Operating & maintenance documentation
- Post-occupancy monitoring
Existing Building Retro-Commissioning
Retro-Cx begins with an energy audit, and survey of energy consumptive systems. Building operators are interviewed to identify detailed operations. Energy saving measures are accompanied by energy calculations to determine payback. Final Retro-Cx recommendations are documented. The team may offer assistance to verify that measures have been implemented correctly and can be maintained in the future. Tasks include:
- Energy audit and operator interview
- Energy measure recommendations
- Energy measure implementation assistance
Envelope commissioning is a systematic process of ensuring that a building’s exterior resists moisture intrusion and air infiltration and maintains a continuous thermal barrier. Elements and systems included in the envelope commissioning scope typically include:
- Opaque walls
- Curtain walls
- Sub-grade and slab-on-grade construction
- Thermal protection
- Air barriers
- Vapor retarders/barriers
- Water management/drainage systems
Monitoring Based Commissioning
Functional Performance Testing typically occurs at a discrete point in time, and confirming functionality is therefore limited to that point in time. Monitoring building systems in a manner that can occur when commissioning personal are not present is therefore critical to evaluating performance over time. This service includes:
- Data logger Installation
- Building Automation System Trend Setup
- Building System Data Analysis
The next phase in the evolution of commissioning is ongoing Cx. Traditional Cx, re-commissioning, and retro-commissioning verify building performance at discrete points in time. Since complex building systems vary in performance over time, it’s beneficial to monitor and document deficiencies and corrective measures continuously. Building automation systems, third party software, and engineering support achieve this goal. Tasks include:
- Functional test plans
- Preventative maintenance plans
- Automated fault detection and diagnostics
LEED Specified Commissioning
Commissioning is required by the US Green Building Council’s LEED rating system. CannonDesign’s standard Cx scope adheres to LEED requirements irrespective of LEED project goals. LEED rating systems include:
- New Construction
- Core & Shell
- Commercial Interiors
- Existing Buildings: Operation & Maintenance
Existing Building Re-Commissioning
Re-commissioning entails the same Cx tasks as a new building, but for a structure already in operation. The owner’s requirements are re-evaluated to identify required operational changes. Functional testing determines whether building systems operation has deteriorated over time. Deficiencies are identified for corrective action. Tasks include:
- Revising operations to meet program changes
- Equipment testing per original specifications
- Maintaining building performance
- Adler School of Professional Psychology
- Allstate Insurance
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Boston College
- Burnham Consulting
- Cayman Islands, Ministry of Education
- Chicago Public Schools
- Codman Square Health and Education Center
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM)
- DePaul University
- Delaware North Companies
- Digital Realty Trust
- Eckerd College
- GCI General Contractors
- General Services Administration
- Herman Miller
- Illinois Smart Energy Design Assistance Center
- Leslie Shankman School Corporation
- Markley Group
- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
- Massachusetts General Hospital
- Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts
- Massachusetts School Building Authority
- Mercy Housing Lakefront
- Niagara Health System
- North Shore Country Day School
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory
- Partners Healthcare
- Plumbers' & Pipefitters' Union of St. Louis
- Provena Health
- South Shore Hospital
- State University of New York Buffalo State
- State University of New York at Buffalo
- Tate & Lyle
- The Universities at Shady Grove
- Tufts University School of Medicine
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- United Healthcare Systems Consortium
- University Healthsystem Consortium
- University of Maryland, College Park
- Veolia Environnement
- Westfield State University
129 Lake Street Renovation Commissioning Services
A major renovation to Boston College’s 129 Lake Street office building provided new MEP systems and implemented design and construction practices to meet the sustainability plan of the campus. Commissioning scope includes HVAC, plumbing, fire protection, electrical, fire alarm, emergency power, and building envelope. The commissioning process documented occupant and building use requirements, and verified that they were met through design and construction. New HVAC equipment was provided in the occupant space, and distribution systems were integrated into existing central plant and campus heating/cooling systems.
The Universities at Shady Grove
Camille Kendall Academic CenterView Project Page
To respond to the evolving technologies of its curriculum, CannonDesign designed the Camille Kendall Academic Center, the first LEED Gold-certified building for the University System of Maryland. This 195,000 sf facility houses 45 classrooms, a library resource center, 120 offices, dining with full kitchen, and central plants for heating and cooling.
A noteworthy model for the conservation of resources, the project incorporates far-ranging operational cost-saving initiatives. In addition to building envelope performance that exceeds ASHRAE requirements, high-efficiency equipment -chillers, boilers, electric motors, variable frequency drives, and domestic water heaters - reduces overall energy consumption. HVAC systems utilize demand ventilation to reduce energy consumption during low occupancy, and sensors signal shutdown when areas become vacant. Abundant natural lighting reaching 75% of interior spaces minimizes lighting energy consumption. On lower roof areas, a green roofing system reduces heating and cooling costs as well as stormwater runoff. Energy cost reduction measures alone achieve savings 25% below LEED baseline models. Additionally, the project earns an extra innovation point for achieving savings 44% below LEED baseline models for potable water use.
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts
Biomass Boiler System
CannonDesign partnered with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, Massachusetts, to submit a grant application that was approved by the Massachusetts DOER for a High Performance Buildings Grant to support its proposal to pursue drastic reductions in natural gas and electricity using high efficiency, ultra-low emission biomass heating, and conservation measures in a historic building context that advanced Governor Patrick’s Massachusetts Recovery Plan and the goals of the Governor’s Zero Net Energy Buildings Task Force.
Based on a FY 2009 energy baseline, the project targets a 74.6% reduction in natural gas use through the installation of a 2 MM BTU high efficiency biomass boiler for intermediate heating loads. The installation was complete in January of 2012, at which time our firm completed the Commissioning for the project and started the Measurement and Verification (M&V) phase of the project. Commissioning tasks included development of the Owner’s Project Requirements, writing of the commissioning specifications, writing of pre-functional checklists, leading of construction phase commissioning progress meetings, and functional performance testing.
Significant lighting upgrades focused on retrofitting for higher efficiency. All existing fluorescent lamp/ballasts were swapped out for high efficiency alternatives; existing incandescent theatrical equipment was replaced LED; and halogen museum track lighting was swapped out for LED fixtures
Silvio O. Conte Forum Recommissioning Services
The Conte Forum houses the school’s top tier basketball and hockey programs. Given the different environment requirements between basketball and hockey, sophisticated temperature control strategies are required to meet the various matches, practices, and functions that occur within the Conte Forum. Additionally, the competing goals of energy efficiency and the large levels of ventilation required for this high occupancy space can be met by a carefully crafted sequence of operation.
CannonDesign’s Commissioning Group drafted the HVAC sequence of operation for the controls upgrade in the Conte Forum. The details we provided in the controls sequence ensured that temperature set points would be met in all modes of operation. Demand control ventilation was also incorporated into the sequence, to provide the necessary ventilation during large occupancy events, and energy savings during all other times. In addition, we commissioned the new controls to verify that the design intent for the new controls was met.
Theatre School Commissioning Services
CannonDesign is collaborating with Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects to design DePaul University’s new home for its renowned theater department. Targeted to achieve LEED Silver, the building will house a 250-seat thrust configured studio theater and a 100-seat flexible black box theater as well as numerous support spaces. In addition to our role as architect-of-record, CannonDesign is the commissioning agent for the new Theatre School. Our independent commissioning team works throughout the building’s design and construction scope, which further supports our goal to have long-term building operations in mind throughout the project.
Massachusetts School Building Authority
Roof and Window Repair/Replacement Program
CannonDesign is a pre-qualified commissioning consultant for the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s Roof and Window Repair/Replacement Program. We are currently engaged in over 20 schools as part of this program, providing envelope commissioning services for schools throughout the state. This specialty program is an example of our commissioning services outside of our core service of MEP commissioning. Commissioning scope for these projects include: writing and leading the execution of the commissioning plan, writing prefunctional checklists, specifying functional testing requirements, execution of thermal scanning, and oversight of water penetration testing.
State University of New York Buffalo State
Student Apartment Complex (STAC)
This new, 520-bed, 230,000 sf Student Apartment Complex was designed to meet the growing student population at Buffalo State College. Campus facility staff has actively participated in the commissioning process in past projects, and so understood the value and benefits of commissioning that was required as part of the project LEED goals. A water source heat pump system was selected as part of the energy optimization analysis, and other HVAC and lighting components were selected to meet the competing needs of energy efficiency and 24/7 operation in some areas.
Massachusetts General Hospital
Yawkey Building Continuous Commissioning
The 300,000-square-foot Yawkey Building of Massachusetts General Hospital required indication of inefficient or incorrect operation as part of an ongoing commissioning effort. CannonDesign’s Commissioning Group developed a specification for “energy alarms” to be programmed into the building automation system. These alarms indicate operation that is indicative of excessive energy use, such as overridden occupancy schedules, un-calibrated building automation sensors, or broken equipment.
State University of New York at Buffalo
William R. Greiner HallView Project Page
CannonDesign’s Commissioning Group is providing Measurement & Verification (M&V) services at the University at Buffalo Student Housing project. The purpose of M&V is to confirm that energy using systems are operating per design intent during the occupancy phase, and to calculate the difference in energy cost between actual operation and design if there is any deviation, as well as the cost difference between operation and the reference energy standard.
Tasks included drafting the M&V Plan based on design, contractor submittal, and as-built information. The plan documents the equipment and control sensors that will be monitored during the M&V Implementation Phase. During the Implementation Phase, actual operation is monitored and measured, and the results are fed into a revised energy model to determine actual energy savings.