The Commissioning Process – Southern Regional Tech/Rec

By: Michael Sizemore, CxA,LEED GA – Allen & Shariff Engineering the Commissioning Authority

The Southern Regional Technology and Recreation Complex is a new 35,000 square foot building.  The project was designed to achieve the LEED “Silver” level of sustainability (the possible ratings are Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum) under the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.  Allen & Shariff Commissioning was awarded the commissioning portion of the project to fulfill the requirements of Fundamental Building Systems Commissioning in support of Energy & Atmosphere (EA) Prerequisite 1 as described in the LEED NC Version 2.2

For this project, team leader Glenn Johnson appointed Michael Sizemore – CxA as the lead and Nathan Iager – CxT to over see the commissioning tasks.

Photos from Sorg & Associates

This project has provided many “firsts” for this Commissioning team.  This was the first project where two Scoping meetings were needed due to the scheduling delays.  It is also the first where the schedule had extended our scope of work.  A project left open on the books takes funds to maintain, even if there is little to no activity time charged to the project.  We were able to minimize our “maintenance” time on this project without compromising our response and obligation to the client or tear into our profit.

Although this project is just now coming to completion, even though it started in the last quarter of 2010.  Time delays and other unforeseen mishaps helped to push back the end date, thus, close to three years later we are finally able to functionally test and complete this project.

On this project, there were several systems that were tested including: HVAC building automation, Electric Heat, Lighting control, Energy Recovery Units, Ductless split systems, Domestic Water Heater, Pumps, Water Source Heat Pumps, Fans, Rooftop Units, Fan powered VAV boxes, VAV Boxes

Most of the major equipment listed above (RTU, ERU, HP, VAV’s) were controlled using a central Building Automation System (BAS). The BAS was used extensively during the functional testing portion of the project to verify proper operation of the units and how they interacted. Where simulated conditions were needed to verify operation (i.e. call for heating during a hot, humid summer day) the BAS was used to manipulate the set points and “trick” the unit into “thinking” the conditions needed to be met, even though real conditions dictated otherwise.

During the functional testing we discovered very few items that needed to be addressed. One of the items discovered was the electric connection of the unit heaters inside the RTU’s was not complete. During the summer months this is not a concern, but during the cold winters we have in this area, this could be an issue. Without the heaters working properly, there is a chance the RTU could freeze, thus cause the unit to shut down and not condition the building. With this issue being discovered, it was quickly addressed and the need for future service calls has been minimized.

Another item that was discovered was the existing filters inside the RTU’s and ERV’s. The filters appeared to have never been changed. This was a cause of concern because with dirty filters, the units do not operate efficiently and waste electricity to maintain proper function and it demonstrated the dirty filter alarms were not operating properly on the units. It is critical for the units to have their filters changed per the manufacturer’s recommendations and when functional testing is to take place. These units initially failed the test due to this condition. Luckily the item was addressed in a timely fashion and we were able to continue with functional testing and everything operated correctly.

At this time all information is being compiled and a few lagging items are being addressed. Once these items are taken care of, we will submit our report to LEED so the reviewing process for certification can begin.

 

 

 

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