Energy Code Compliance (ECC) Commissioning is a process where a building’s components are tested to verify functionality and ensure optimal performance and efficient energy use. The practices and procedures for commissioning building systems are outlined in the 2016 NYC Energy Conservation Code and ASHRAE 90.1 Energy Standard for Buildings. While the process is good practice for all new installations, the NYC Building Code mandates that commissioning is required for the mechanical systems, service water heating and electrical power and lighting systems for larger scale projects, with greater than 50,000 square feet of conditioned space or where the total mechanical equipment capacity being installed is greater than or equal to 480,000 Btu/h (40 tons) of cooling capacity or 600,000 Btu/h (50 tons) of heating capacity.
Additional legislation requires some large buildings to undergo the commissioning process for the property’s existing systems. This process is known as Retro-Commissioning and is required for buildings greater than 50,000 square feet under Local Law 87 (LL87). Retro-Commissioning is similar to ECC Commissioning, only it is specific to existing systems and requires reporting and general consulting in place of requirements for corrective actions standard to the commissioning process. The requirements for Retro-Commissioning are generally identified when building owners submit annual reports under Local Law 84 (LL84) for energy benchmarking audits. Buildings that do not comply with the energy audits and retro-commissioning specified in LL84 and LL87 are subject to violations and fines from the NYC Department of Buildings. The best way to ensure compliance with regulations related to commissioning is to consult with a local engineering firm with within the building industry, who has the experience and expertise to advise on best practices.