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Energy Woes Ignite Commissioning Boom

Monday, April 6, 2015

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Bird-dogging building construction and maintenance to ensure continued energy efficiency has sparked an industry that will sizzle in the years ahead, according to a new forecast.

Building commissioning and optimization have outgrown their 1960s-era roots as an occasional quality assurance measure for new construction in the United States and UK.

Today, these industries are riding a growing global wave of mandatory and voluntary codes, policies and certification programs focused on building performance, Navigant Research reports in Initial Commissioning, Retrocommissioning, and Monitoring-Based Commissioning Services: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts.

Surge Ahead

In the 21st century, building optimization and commissioning services are widely used tools to ensure operational and energy efficiency of buildings of all types and ages, the report says.

CommissioningServices

Global revenue for building commissioning services is expected to grow from $2.7 billion in 2014 to $6.6 billion in 2024, Navigant Research forecasts.

Original new-construction commissioning has expanded to include retrocommissioning of existing buildings and monitoring-based commissioning, which tracks data on energy and systems operation to enable continuous improvement and keep energy performance goals on track.

Part of the industry's growth has certainly been driven by the increase in external policies, regulations and certification schemes that require commissioning of new and existing buildings. Fueling the demand, however, has been the success of the commissioning process itself and the significant savings that owners are reporting from it, Navigant says.

Given these tailwinds, global revenue for building commissioning services is expected to grow from $2.7 billion in 2014 to $6.6 billion in 2024, Navigant Research reports. The boom reflects a robust Compound Annual Growth Rate of 9.1 percent.

What They Do

Building optimization and commissioning services manage the complex systems that serve today's highest priority in construction and building operations: energy efficiency.

BuildingInspectors
©iStock.com / 1905HKN

Commissioning and optimization services have become critical energy-management tools for new and existing buildings alike.

More complex equipment and solutions are constantly emerging, promising reduced energy consumption, reduced waste, and better operation. These advances, however, work only as well as they are integrated, installed, operated and monitored.

Those tasks require sustained, constant management, from groundbreaking through the life of the building, the forecast notes.

"The complicated construction process of buildings, as well as their maintenance and operations, can lead actual performance to drift away from the intended design," Navigant reports.

"Additionally, there are times when the original design may not have properly accounted for the real-world applications of the building."

Where the Action Is

Commissioning services are still most common in North America and Europe, where competition is "fierce," the forecast says. Many design engineering firms added commissioning services to their struggling portfolios during the recession of 2007-08 and have kept them.

Meanwhile, specialized niches, such as building envelope commissioning and commissioning of onsite energy generation, have joined the mix.

And in regions that have not yet built commissioning into their regulations and codes, green-building rating systems are still pushing the market forward amid a global construction climate driven by energy security and savings, the report says.

ManhattanMorning
AngMoKio / Creative Commons 2.5

The latest big-city building codes, such as New York's Local Law 87, will expand the market for commissioning and optimization services, especially in existing construction, the report says.

The potential for retrocommissioning growth is especially strong, Navigant reports.

"Nearly every existing building can benefit to some extent from retrocommissioning and, in any year, there are far more existing buildings than newly constructed ones," the forecast reports.

"Moreover, regulatory requirements for retrocommissioning—such as New York's Local Law 87 and California's CALGreen—are likely to expand the market."

Monitoring-based commissioning will remain the smallest segment of the market, but new technologies and greater understanding of that field should drive gains into 2024.

In the Forecast

The forecast looks at the global commissioning services market as a whole as well as by region, service type and building type.

CALGreen
 

California's 2010 Green Building Standards Code, known as CALGreen, are expected to keep pressure on the retrocommissioning market.

It reviews the construction companies, engineering design firms, building equipment OEMS, IT developers, systems integrators and other members of the "service provider ecosystem" who make the commissioning industry tick.

The report also reviews the many public and private drivers—codes, laws, certifications, sustainability initiatives, energy costs, and more—behind the industry's growth.

The players in the industry—governments, private companies, rating organizations and the whole alphabet soup of commissioning agent certifiers, from ACG to ASHRAE—are also examined.

Commissioning the Commissioners

With the maturing of the industry has come a growing professional organization with its own certifications.

The Building Commissioning Association, incorporated in its current form in 1999, has grown from a "core group" of building performance researchers to more than 1,200 members from across the commercial building industry.

The organization, based in Beaverton, OR, now offers three commissioning certifications and is planning its annual National Conference on Building Commissioning (NCBC) for May 18-20 in St. Louis, MO.

   

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