SEEC Webinar 14 — RetroCommissioning at the Local Level

SEEC Webinar — RetroCommissioning at the Local Level

This session is approved for AICP Certification Maintenance credits!
[ganet]CM Approved Credits:[/ganet] 1.00

According to recent data, energy costs can account for as much as 10% of a local government’s annual operating budget and as much as 30% of a building’s operating costs (U.S. DOE, 2005;

Undertaking retro-commissioning provides local governments with an excellent opportunity to reduce these energy costs by ensuring that buildings are performing to the highest operational and maintenance standards possible. For example, research shows that retro-commissioning can result in approximately 15% energy savings, for a relatively low cost and short project payback period (

This webinar will provide an overview on retro-commissioning and highlight two local examples including energy savings achieved, challenges faced, and lessons learned.

A recording of the webinar is available. Individual presentations are available on the agenda below.


2:00 pm Webinar Logistics and Overview

Kate Meis, Local Government Commission
Presentation (PDF)
2:15 pm Retro-Commissioning OverviewJeff Guild, Enovity
Presentation (PDF)
2:30 pm Local Case Study: The County of Los AngelesRonald Mohr and Amar Amarnani, The County of Los Angeles
Presentation (PDF)
2:45 pm Local Case Study: The County of San DiegoPeter Livingston, The County of San Diego
Presentation (PDF)
3:00 pm Questions / Adjourn

Follow-Up Questions from the Webinar

Who conducts the retrocomissioning training? Who takes part in the retrocomissioning training? Can you share your training materials?

County of Los Angeles
Retrocomissioning training is conducted by the RCx contractor according to the Statement of Work specified in the contract. The RCx prime contractor usually assigns controls and equipment related training to subcontractors in the same session and the rest of the training is conducted by the primary RCx consultant/contractor. Typical attendees are M&O technicians responsible for the facility, alternate technicians, their supervisors and a building occupant designated contact. A comprehensive Training Manual along with a Quick Reference Guide is created for classroom training. The building maintenance crew is invited to witness Function Performance testing as a part of field training.

Training material is specific to each building. The County of Los Angeles would be glad to share sample documentation to another government agency for reference purposes only. The material is not available for distribution to non-governmental organizations.

County of San Diego
Training of County Facilities Operations staff for County of San Diego RCx projects occurs at completion of installation by the controls contractor and the engineering firm that identified the RCx actions as part of the commissioning process.

Did RCx measure implementation occur in-house? Were there any issues with proprietary controls software (i.e. work can only be done by the proprietary company’s staff)?

County of Los Angeles
The RCx contractor implemented the RCx measures after the County reviewed each measure’s cost and payback. A deficiency log was also created for the in-house staff to repair any maintenance deficiencies. Also, the low-cost, no-cost measures, such as linkages are part of RCx contractor’s responsibility. We did not have any issues with proprietary control software.

County of San Diego
Implementation occurs in-house when the item is a maintenance issue, such as a stuck damper, or covered under an existing service contract, such as retuning control loops. Most of our sites have proprietary controls, so the general contractor must subcontract with the proprietary controls contractor. The biggest issue is that we tend to get a higher pricing than if the work was competitively bid. The controls contractor, in our case, has been cooperative and a team member in making the project successful.

Did you have any push back from building staff after RCx measures were implemented regarding temperature set points?

County of Los Angeles
Our first goal is to provide a comfortable environment for the occupants. We build consensus with building occupants and M&O staff about temperature requirements. We found that getting our building staff involved in the selection of measures and reviewing the scope of work to be very helpful prior to implementing the measures. For the most part, the new temperature set points were reviewed, discussed and the building staff approved them prior to implementation.

The only real pushback has been in the area of scheduling. Some daily schedules that had been reduced had to be adjusted back for staff that came in ‘early’ or liked to work ‘late’. There were two large facilities that had been running every Saturday with little or no occupants in them. RCx curtailed the Saturday operations. Both facilities had high level managers who insisted that the facilities must operate because they ‘might drop in’ and work a couple of hours on Saturdays. Those facilities are now back running on Saturdays.

County of San Diego
We do not force space temperature setpoints on our client departments or Facilities Operations staff. Yes, there would be push back if we did. It is likely that the first time management complains that it is too hot or too cold, they will override the setpoint to make the issue go away. We obtain approval of space temperature setpoints through meetings with the clients and staff in advance.

Do you take advantage of the Building Operator Certification program? Do you see a benefit in it?

County of Los Angeles
Although the Building Operator Certification program provides robust training, LACo RCx training addresses operation and maintenance needs of individual facilities. Technicians and occupants can relate to it right away.

Ron and all of his field staff are presently in Building Operator Certification classes. So far they have been interesting. There is an overemphasis on energy efficiency though. Safety, staff productivity, regulatory compliance and economics are all higher on the food chain than energy efficiency.

Also, Peter Livingston from San Diego County mentioned that his organization was in the process of developing a Front End for their automation system for the ongoing monitoring of their facilities. The County of Los Angeles is making their Enterprise Energy Management Information System (EEMIS) available to all governmental organizations within California. The cost is extremely low when compared to purchasing and operating a system in-house. So far, fifty-one municipal governmental agencies within Southern California are going to make use of the County’s application. Information on EEMIS can be found here Or contact Ron Mohr for details at 323-881-3979,

County of San Diego
We have sent a large number of our Facilities Operations staff through both BOC I and BOC II training, with waiting lists for both certifications. This training is reimbursed by our SDG&E Local Government Partnership. It is beneficial because the Energy Division of General Services does not reside inside Facilities Operations and this is probably the best way to provide visibility to the importance of operating the buildings efficiently.