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Cx Energy Conference 2017

Cx Energy Conference 2017

Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 103) – All IMHO:

I attended the Cx Energy Conference this year and it was an interesting experience. 

The Cx Energy Conference is dedicated exclusively to building commissioning and energy management and is presented by the AABC Commissioning Group (ACG), Associated Air Balance Council (AABC), and Energy Management Association (EMA).

From my perspective there seemed to be a lot of talk about existing building Commissioning (EBCx). I think this is a reflection of the large opportunities for Commissioning inefficient, existing buildings due to the sheer size of the market, i.e. 99% of all building stock comprises existing buildings and therein lay the energy problems. 

I attended several sessions, my main takeaways were:

Existing Building Commissioning (EBCx)
I attended a gap session on building commissioning and the bulk of the presentation was about EBCx. Also at least 5 out of 32 technical sessions offered, I would consider existing building case studies. There seems to be an evolving definition of building commissioning and an explosion of Commissioning acronyms such as Cx, CxA, MBcx, EBCx etc. the list is exhausting. 

For me, the best and most concise definition of Commissioning is:

“Advancement of a system from a state of static completion to full dynamic operation in accordance with specified requirements. A onetime event relating to new construction or new installation.”

However in the USA and particularly for existing buildings Commissioning, I think the most appropriate definition is:

“Investigation and optimization of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), lighting, and other mechanical or electrical systems in an existing building or facility.”

IMHO Commissioning is evolving as a profession due to the “Construction & Property Industrial Complex” total lack of ability to design, deliver and maintain buildings that actually work as required. Good news for me as a Commissioning professional but embarrassing for the property industry. IMHO delivery of buildings needs to be at the same quality levels as cars. 

ASHRAE 202 (2015) & Systems Manuals 
Before we get into this, I have to admit I personally think “Systems Manuals” are total bu!!s^!t. 

With that out of the way, Systems Manuals are not going away because the lobbying organization called ASHRAE requires it. I think this requirement is in place because the quality of O&M manuals in the USA are so poor and delivery so late that ASHRAE is trying to provide an alternative solution to get relevant operational information to facility managers on time. Before you all get triggered, I know Systems Manuals are not meant to replace O&M manuals but really, if O&M’s were technically written and systems based which they are in other parts of the world, we would not need Systems Manuals. 

This whole situation could be solved by linking the delivery of project specific O&M manuals and “As Built” drawings to the AHJ issuing an occupation certificate. 


This was an interesting session. It gave a great insight to the difference between LEED 2009 (V3) and LEED 2016 (V4):

  • LEED 2009 (V3) was strategic, it was trying to generate outcomes
  • LEED 2016 (V4) is all about performance 

Very concise, I like that!

There was also a case study of a LEED V4 pilot project by a large bank. They have updated their branch design prototype for LEED 2016 (V4) requirements. The outcome;

  • prior to updating the design over 80% of their branches achieved LEED 2009 (V3) Gold certification; 
  • following the update of the design prototype they are at LEED 2016 (V4) Certified level. 

So, two levels down the LEED certification scale and it is not yet known what the cost impact of the new design will be. I am sure the cost will not be lower! 

Bragging about LEED certification used to start at LEED Gold, does it now start at LEED Certified? 

We should remember, the “L” in LEED stands for “Leadership”, it is meant to be more difficult as the LEED certification system evolves. The market and wisdom of crowds will decide the fate of LEED and if it has reached the edge of the envelop in terms of market acceptability. 

Lighting Controls Commissioning 
This was interesting and I will write about this subject in detail later in the year. However, there were some good takeaways:

  • AHJ’s in the USA are starting to request “evidence” and in some cases “attestation” that lighting controls Commissioning has been done. 
  • IECC 2015 is the current, relevant document in the USA for lighting systems Commissioning requirements 
  • ASHRAE 90.1 2016 should be officially endorsed by the US Secretary of energy this year (2017) and that will require AHJ’s and Professional Engineers to consider its requirements on lighting systems Commissioning. 

It is always good to attend a conference like this as it provides a check in on the “state of the Commissioning union” in the USA. I would recommend attending this conference next year. 

Twitter: @BLDWhisperer

Related posts & links:

#82 – ASHRAE, ACG, BCA & NEBB to Merge! ( )

#102 – “Comsplaining” – Commissioning Definitions ( )

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